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Vitamin K Shot

What is it?

Unlike other shots, the vitamin K shot is not used to prevent an infectious disease. Instead, it is more like taking a vitamin supplement. Vitamin K is naturally present in a wide variety of foods, especially leafy green vegetables, and it is important for clotting and preventing excessive bleeding. The vitamin K injection is recommended because babies naturally have very low levels of vitamin K, which puts them at risk of life-threatening bleeding called vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB).


According to the CDC, infants who receive the vitamin K shot are 81 times less likely to develop severe bleeding. 4 million babies are born in the United States each year. If we stopped giving the vitamin K shot at birth, more than 200 infants would develop VKDB every day.

For some common questions about this shot and VKDB, click here.

Vaccine Information:


Active ingredients:

Phytonadione, which is another name for vitamin K

Inactive ingredients:

Carbohydrates (sugars): normally used as stabilizers in vaccines

Preservatives: prevent contamination


Why is it an injection?

You may be wondering why vitamin K is given as an injection instead of orally (by mouth). There have been several studies done on oral vitamin K, but none of the doses or regimens tested were as effective as the vitamin K injection. 

Relevant Terms

  • Carbohydrates: another name for sugars

  • Emulsifier: a substance that helps to keep the ingredients mixed together


Last updated: Feb. 13, 2023

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