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CDC: Delayed Breastfeeding Increases Rotavirus Vaccine Effectiveness

English: Kneeling breast feeding mother Deutsc...

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When my son was recovering from open heart surgery as an infant, another child came down with rotavirus in the NICU.  The nurses wanted us to trade places with this child and swore a “hard clean” would take care of killing the virus.  I refused to move.

My son had not been vaccinated for rotavirus, as it is not required and we were on a modified vaccine schedule, and it is transmitted through fecal matter. That’s right, fecal matter.  He wasn’t going to get rotavirus at home.  Considering the nurses changed all the baby’s diapers (the family was not present), there was only one way that child got rotavirus.

I loved our nurses, don’t get me wrong, but hospitals are full of germs and viruses. Another common place rotavirus is spread is in daycare.

Appropriate sanitation practices, like hand washing, can prevent rotavirus; however, instead of focusing on these simple measures, the CDC is now recommending mothers temporarily stop breastfeeding to ensure the rotavirus vaccine is effective.

Natural News reports:

Ten researchers from the CDC’s National Centers for Immunization and Respiratory Disease (NCIRD) released the ridiculous paper, entitled Inhibitory effect of breast milk on infectivity of live oral rotavirus vaccines, which claims the immune-boosting effects of breastmilk are a detriment to the efficacy of vaccines. The paper goes on to say that, rather than remove vaccines so that breastmilk can do its job, women should instead remove the breastmilk to allow vaccines to do their job.

The CDC researchers began their investigation by searching for answers as to why children from underdeveloped countries typically do not respond as well to the live oral rotavirus vaccine as children in developed countries typically do. They came to the conclusion that breastmilk, which is packed with immune-building immunoglobulin A (IgA), lactoferrin, lysozyme, and various other important immune factors, inhibits the vaccine from working.

Rotavirus can be life threatening to infants, as it causes sever diarrhea.  MedicineNet explains:

Rotavirus is a virus that infects the bowels. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and children throughout the world and causes the death of about 600,000 children worldwide annually. The name rotavirus comes from the characteristic wheel-like appearance of the virus when viewed by electron microscopy (the name rotavirus is derived from the Latin rota, meaning “wheel”).

Almost all children have become infected with rotavirus by their third birthday.

Many other studies have shown the effectiveness of breastfeeding against rotavirus.  A study published in the peer-reviewed Pediatrics found:

Compared with other feeding modes, exclusive breast-feeding of infants was associated with significant protection against severe rotavirus diarrhea (relative risk (RR) = 0.10; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.03,0.34). However, during the second year of life, the risk of this outcome was higher in breast-fed than in non-breast-fed children (RR = 2.85; 95% CI = 0.37,21.71), and no overall protection was associated with breast-feeding during the first 2 years of life (RR = 2.61; 95% CI = 0.62,11.02).

Conclusions. Although exclusive breast-feeding appeared to protect infants against severe rotavirus diarrhea, breast-feeding per se conferred no overall protection during the first 2 years of life, suggesting that breast-feeding temporarily postponed rather than prevented this outcome.

Postponed may not be prevention, but at least children are older when they contract the inevitable rotavirus and thus the risk of death is limited.

Peaceful Parenting shared a study done in Mexico and Brazil comparing rotavirus vaccine and breastfeeding:

“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)

Dr. Steele answered the question on iVillage “Can breastfeeding help prevent the rotavirus infection?”:

You are absolutely correct that breastfeeding not only decreases the chances of the baby getting the rotavirus infection, but it also decreases the risk of severe diarrhea should the child get rotavirus. However, just as medications are not always 100 percent effective and immunizations do not always give complete immunity, breastfeeding does not ward off all disease.

The effect that breastfeeding has on decreasing the rotavirus infection only lasts for as long as the child is breasfeeding. This may seem like an obvious point, but many people think that as long as the child was breastfed, the protection against rotavirus infection will last. As it turns out, there does not seem to be any long-lasting effect from breastfeeding against the severe diarrhea from rotavirus.

Clearly, the CDC is influenced by Big Pharma and the profits to be made from vaccinations.  Even though the rotavirus vaccine is not required, the CDC recommends:
Does my child need the rotavirus vaccine?
Yes! Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe acute gastroenteritis (vomiting and severe diarrhea) among children worldwide. Two different rotavirus vaccines are currently licensed for use in infants in the United States.
This vaccine has only been approved since 2006, and the CDC states the serious risk to be:

Serious problems

Some studies have shown a small increase in cases of intussusception within a week after the first dose of rotavirus vaccine. Intussusception is a type of bowel blockage that is treated in a hospital. In some cases surgery might be required. The estimated risk is 1 intussusception case per 100,000 infants.

Yet, when you dig a little deeper, there are cases linking Rotateq with Kawasaki Disease.

Instead of recommending infants avoid crowded day care situations and increased sanitation (which the CDC says has not reduced cases in the US), as well as breastfeeding, they are once again influenced by Big Pharma.  Age of Autism reports:

You just can’t talk about the Rotavirus vaccine without also talking about Paul Offit, the vaccine industry’s most well-paid spokesperson. The man who made tens of millions of dollars from a Rotavirus vaccine patent and who believes a baby could tolerate 100,000 vaccines simultaneously. The man who the media cannot get enough of (or is he simply the last doctor willing to publicly defend vaccines?) when it comes to discussing vaccine “safety”. The man who wrote a book, Autism’s False Profits, that is filled with lies, misstatements, and false reassurances for unwitting parents…

Because we all know how sleazy the Rotavirus’ admission to the CDC schedule is, I will just summarize:

  • Paul Offit, vaccine patent holder for Rotavirus for Merck, was appointed to the Advisory Committee of Immunizations Practices (“ACIP”), God knows why
  • He voted to add the Rotavirus vaccine to the schedule (it wasn’t Merck’s, because his vaccine wasn’t ready for market yet)
  • That Rotavirus vaccine damaged a bunch of kids and was pulled from the market, but Offit abstained from recommending its removal
  • A couple years later, rotavirus got added back to the schedule, with Offit’s vaccine leading the way
  • Offit made tens of millions of dollars from the sale of the Rotavirus patent he held to Merck.

Breastfeeding far outdates the rotavirus vaccines in safety and effectiveness, and there is no profit in it for Big Pharma.  Breast is best. I don’t care what the CDC and Big Pharma says!


  1. notabrainwashedhippie says:

    You confuse a lot of information here. First off, the authors of the initial study say in their paper that you shouldn’t stop breastfeeding despite a very small decrease in efficacy of the vaccine. Secondly, the reason breastmilk hurts the vaccine is the same reason breast milk prevents infection (the vaccine is attenuated live virus). Thirdly, every doctor on the planet that isn’t a hack supports vaccines. And finally, thanks for giving me a laugh for this kooky, uneducated analysis I found during a google search.

  2. Renee Carver says:

    The CDC is not recommending stopping breastfeeding for good. The original paper, which was studying why the vaccine was not working as well in developing countries where mothers were exclusively breastfeeding, suggested that they evaluate (just study whether this is a good thing to do, not definitely command people to do it) having mothers *delay* breastfeeding momentarily by not breastfeeding directly before, during, and after giving the vaccine, like for a span of a few hours.
    It says “at the time of immunization” twice: “The lower immunogenicity and efficacy of rotavirus vaccines in poor developing countries could be explained, in part, by higher titers of IgA and neutralizing activity in breast milk consumed by their infants at the time of immunization that could effectively reduce the potency of the vaccine. Strategies to overcome this negative effect, such as delaying breast-feeding at the time of immunization, should be evaluated.”
    I strongly support breastfeeding and having parents be informed about vaccines and empowered to make their own decisions about how and when to vaccinate their children, but creating issues that do not actually exist won’t help anybody.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      Delaying breastfeeding is a bad recommendation. How does one do this when exclusively breastfeeding? Do we want the whole Nestle formula fiasco to continue in third world countries?

      • Renee Carver says:

        I’ve exclusively breastfed all three of my babies so far, and although they might not have been totally happy with waiting for their next feeding, they would have survived not eating for a couple of hours before receiving a vaccine and then waiting a couple of hours after it, without me needing to supplement their diet with formula. And this kind of delay is all the researchers who wrote the original paper are recommending that future studies (of mothers in developing countries) evaluate, not even what the CDC itself is telling people (in the U.S. and other first world countries) to do.

  3. The study does not suggest you STOP breastfeeding in favor of vaccines. It merely suggests that timing the two can improve effectiveness of the vaccine.
    This is a horrifically dramatic statement.
    This article, like so many others, is tragically misleading and readers, who may not be scientifically literate, will make misinformed medical decisions for their children.

    Vaccines are NOT toxic. The “mercury” found in them is ethyl-mercury, not methyl-mercury – two very different molecules with two very very different effects on the body. The former, which is used to keep vaccines inactive, is harmless and flushes through the body in about a day. The latter is the dangerous molecule associated with “mercury poisoning” and neurological affects – it is NOT used in vaccines.

    Breastfeeding is, all around, A Very Good Idea. If you can do it, please, do it! But breastfeeding is not a substitute for vaccines – if that were the case, we would never needed a vaccine for polio after the first generation of inoculation.

    You do not need to choose between breastfeeding and vaccinations – BOTH are incredibly beneficial for children. This study merely suggested one way of optimizing their effectiveness.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      You really think mercury is safe?

      • Jennifer Lance says:

        The mercury used in vaccines was/is thimersol. It has been removed from childhood vaccines in this country because it was found unsafe, even by our own government. It remains in some flu vaccines and in vaccines we ship abroad to third world countries.

      • Think? No.
        I am certain ETHYL-mercury is safe. It was not removed (in most cases, reduced) due to any evidence that it was unsafe but over pressures from a very misinformed public. There is no evidence that ETHYL-mercury has been toxic.

        This isn’t a matter of opinion, this is chemistry – the study of the molecular nature of everything-ever. The shape of a molecule determines it’s function, for good or for harm, in a biological system – not just the atoms found in it.

        For example, chlorine, (Cl) as a pure substance, isn’t something you want in your body. Yet, we consume Chloride (Cl-, a chlorine ion) everyday in compounds such as Sodium Chloride, or salt, NaCl.
        Any lay person can agree that Oxygen is a good thing to breathe in, however, there isn’t just one kind of “oxygen”. We breathe molecular oxygen, O2, and any other molecular structure of oxygen (o3, for example) wouldn’t benefit us. Even still, 02 can be toxic if we breathed it as a pure substance. Our atmosphere gives us a safe amount of roughly 21% of o2 in the air we breathe – if we breathed 100% 02, we’d die.

        So, you see, the malice of molecules is in their overall structure and volume, not the single atoms/ions that make them.

        You cannot align a substance with toxicity simple because of a word used in the name, as in ethyl-mercury. You have to know the molecular structure, the shape it takes, what function it serves, and the amount of it within a system, such as a human body.

        ETHYL-mercury does not bio-accumulate, meaning, it does not have a shape which will link onto or lock into positions within a biological system and disrupt the functions of vital processes – which is what toxins would do. METHYL-mercury, on the other hand, can be found in fish. It DOES bio-accumulate. It does not break down easy and settles into the nervous system, like a clog in a drain, and it sits there for about 8 weeks. A small amount will not cause harm – you probably have some floating in you right now, just like a few hairs down the sink won’t bother anything. But, if you add more in a short amount of time, there will be damage – such as mercury poisoning. Methyl-mercury leads to this. Ethyl-mercury, found in thermisol, does not. It leaves the body without a trace in about a day.

        The amount of thermisol previously used in vaccines was never proven to be toxic. One single quack published falsified data – which was called out by his former colleagues (independent researchers who were interested in the link between vaccines and developmental disorders) who found their research “inconclusive” and moved on to study other aspects of said disorders. In other words, a bunch of specialists got together to answer the question “Are vaccines toxic?” and they all could not find any evidence. One quack took their data, falsified it -made it up, and published false claims. No other scientific panel has been able to link vaccines to disorders or validate claims of toxicity.

        Some very hyper-vigilant, uneducated people saw the word “mercury” and joined in the assumption. Since molecular disambiguation isn’t really high school Chemistry material, much of the public had no other reference to check these claims (heck, they didn’t even know what questions to ask) and pressured governments to lower or remove the preservative – thereby compromising the effectiveness of vaccines without evidence to the claims made.

        This is potentially tragic and, somehow, a very curious phenomenon. We live in a society that does not often see the affects of Polio and most people are not touched by the death of a child due to Mumps or Measles. We are very fortunate, yet, the effectiveness of such disease prevention has lead us to forget why we need it. In a sense, we are spoiled by it. I fear it will take another epidemic of childhood diseases-long-since-gone to end the trend of denialism and paranoia.

        As someone with sincere investment in environmental biology as it relates to the quality of life in humans, I would feel outraged if vaccines truly did harm, however, the bigger threat to population health is the public’s scientific illiteracy which is exploited by Big Pharma (and much of commercialism and politics) and horribly distorted by well-meaning but ill-informed activists. As an activist and a scientist, too often I see the conviction of the former rejecting the knowledge of the latter. What we end up with is a lot of well-meaning, compassionate people unwittingly adding to needless suffering and illness – something they believe they are working to alleviate- because they do not have the knowledge to make the effective decisions.

        The science behind Big Pharma is real and, for the most part, sincerely interested in public health. Most of what comes out of Big Pharma is safe, all other health aspects being equal, and does exactly what it claims to do. The evil in big pharma appears in marketing – when advertisements are disguised as research articles, fooling the public into thinking the product is recommended to them by a trustworthy authority, not just another commercial. The public cannot often tell the difference between a research journal and a commercial article and, when given a research article, much of the general public does not know how to interpret the information.

        That is how you end up with silly, defensive, eco-articles that jump to the bold (and very wrong) conclusion that the CDC is telling women to “stop breastfeeding” in favor of vaccines.

        It is a battle on both fronts and if either side has its way, entire generations, perhaps even populations will suffer.

  4. Informed parent says:

    This is so sad. Please stop contributing to garbage on the internet. If you want to advocate for your stance, fine.. but for goodness sake educate yourself before you spread lies to the masses.

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