Breast vs. Vaccine

BreastfeedingBabyExclusive breast-feeding cuts diarrhea in Brazil by 90%…

VERSUS 40% cut by vaccination in Mexico.


“Rotavirus vaccine cuts deaths of Mexican babies from diarrhoea by 40%” states a January, 2010, British Medical Journal headline summarizing two studies.(1) Yet, a study of Brazilian children finds that exclusive breastfeeding cuts diarrhea cases in this similarly developing nation by a whopping 90% (1 / 9.41), versus a diet of formula and/or other foods.(2)

A study on the cost of breastfeeding promotion programs for Brazil and Mexico accounted a 30 to 40 cent cost per birth for breastfeeding promotion programs.(3) The vaccine costs $190 for a series of 3 oral doses.

The vaccine also leads to a substantial increase in cases of intussusception, a dangerous intestinal condition where part of the intestine folds in, inside itself. Treatment costs and lives lost from this side effect of the vaccine should be considered as well.


1 A. Gutland, “Rotavirus vaccine cuts deaths of Mexican babies from diarrhoea by 40%,” BMJ 2010 Jan 28, doi:10.1136/bmj.c511.

2. H.S. Maranhão, et al., “The epidemiological and clinical characteristics and nutritional development of infants with acute diarrhoea, in north-eastern Brazil,” Ann Trop Med Parasitol, 2008 Jun;102(4):357-65.

3. S. Horton, et al., “Breastfeeding promotion and priority setting in health,” Health Policy Plan, 1996 Jun;11(2):156-68.

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