September 2019 - Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has been recognized by the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) and the Florida Health Department for achieving one of the highest reported rates in the state for its work to protect newborns from hepatitis B virus infection

I am incredibly proud of our Labor and Delivery team, who provides outstanding care to moms and their babies," said Caroline Stewart, Chief Nursing Officer at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. "That includes immunizations, to protect newborns from hepatitis B."

Fort Walton Beach Medical 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. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center immunized 97% of babies from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 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 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.

"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. "Fort Walton Beach 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."