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June 14, 2016

Harrington Honored for Hepatitis B Vaccine Birth Dose Rate

SOUTHBRIDGE, Mass., June 14, 2016 – The Family Birthing Center at Harrington Hospital has been recognized by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for achieving one of the highest reported rates in the state for its work to protect newborns from hepatitis B virus infection.

“Harrington’s responsibility to protect its newborns and commitment to the best practice of hepatitis B vaccination at birth has proven successful in being a leader in preventing the transmission of the virus,” said Ann Beaudry, RN, Director of Maternity and Pediatrics.

Harrington’s Birthing Center is the newest entry into IAC’s Birth Dose Honor Roll (, which recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that have attained high coverage levels for administering the hepatitis B vaccine at birth. Harrington immunized 98 percent of its babies from April 2015 to May 2016; the vaccine is offered to the parent(s) of every new baby.

The national standard of care to prevent hepatitis B virus infection in babies is to administer hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns before they leave the hospital or birthing center. 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.

To be included in the Immunization Action Coalition’s Hepatitis B Birth Dose Honor Roll, a birthing institution should have:

  • Achieved, over a 12-month period, a coverage rate of 90 percent or greater for administering hepatitis B vaccine before hospital discharge to all newborns (regardless of weight), including those whose parents refuse vaccination;
  • Implemented written policies, procedures, and protocols to protect all newborns from hepatitis B virus infection prior to hospital discharge.

Harrington’s Maternity, Labor, and Delivery Department is a specialty service at its main hospital campus in Southbridge with about 300 births per year. All patient rooms are private. The nursing staff supports a comprehensive care plan for each individual that promotes mental, physical and emotional health for mom and baby. The maternity nurses are specially trained for every type of birth; only three percent of infants born at Harrington in 2015 required a transfer to other hospitals. Many of the maternity nurses are also certified lactation counselors and offer assistance to patients.



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