The Birthing Center at Southwestern Medical Center (SWMC) has been recognized by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) and the Oklahoma State Department of Health for achieving one of the highest reported rates in the state for its work to protect newborns from hepatitis B virus infection.

“It is an honor to provide care to our community here in Southwest Oklahoma and protect the lives of our newest members,” said Lindsay Thornton, RNC-OB, director of women’s services and pediatrics at SWMC. “I am incredibly proud to be a part of such a dedicated and compassionate team who puts safety for our community at the forefront.”

SWMC is the newest entry into IAC’s Birth Dose Honor Roll (www.immunize.org/honor-roll/birthdose), which recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that have attained high coverage levels for administering the hepatitis B vaccine at birth. The Birthing Center immunized 98 percent of babies July 2019 to June 2020 and took additional steps to prevent perinatal transmission of hepatitis B.

The national standard of care to prevent hepatitis B virus infection in babies is to administer hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns at birth. This standard is being adopted by centers of healthcare excellence nationwide as a safety net to protect newborns from a wide range of medical errors that lead to babies being unprotected from perinatal hepatitis B infection.

“Hospitals and birthing centers have a responsibility to protect babies from life-threatening hepatitis B infection,” said Deborah Wexler, MD, executive director and founder of IAC. “Southwestern Medical Center’s commitment to the best practice of hepatitis B vaccination at birth has shown them to be a leader in preventing the transmission of the hepatitis B virus.”

The Birthing Center at SWMC is a 15-bed obstetric unit that features a Level II nursery, specialty certified nursing staff, the option of baby rooming-in or staying in the nursery and a comprehensive infant security system.

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