The article analyzes interactions between the Baniwa, an indigenous group from the Alto Rio Negro region, and the multi-disciplinary healthcare teams that conduct vaccination there. Approaching from the perspectives of the anthropology of disease, studies of Rio Negro ethnology, and the theory of social representations, the study endeavors to comprehend indigenous interpretations of vaccination and the diseases these seek to prevent. Results show that biomedical ideas about vaccines are re-interpreted through Baniwa cosmology. It is concluded that the vigor of Baniwa thought encourages these indigenes to interpret biomedical action in accord with cultural features and that the clash between Baniwa outlooks and those of healthcare providers has negative repercussions on the vaccination process.
South American Indians; indigenous health; primary health care; vaccination