Vaccines and Immunisation – What’s the Difference?

Vaccines and Immunisations- sri Ramakrishna hospital

Three terms are often used interchangeably, inoculation, immunisation and vaccination. These three are not semantic, and knowing the meaning can help communicate what you mean with your doctor. 

  • The term vaccine is used to imply the medically derived version of a bacteria or virus that is live or attenuated (weakened). It is injected into the body to increase the body’s defence against that organism. Employing vaccines or administering a vaccine to the body is known as vaccination—for example, the COVID-19 vaccination ongoing. The term vaccination can be used interchangeably with the term “inoculation”.
  • Immunisation is the process that takes place inside your body after the injection of a vaccine. This is at the cellular level when our defence cells fight the organisms in the vaccine and store memory for future use. 

Why do we need to take a vaccine? 

Immunity is something that we should be thankful for, as it is our body’s immunity that we are surrounded by numerous microbes daily, and we don’t fall sick all the time. Our body functions with a team of cells for attacking a micro-organism and fighting them. It is only when these defence cells fall, and our body is defeated, we develop symptoms. Immunity is always selective of an organism, like data coding and meant for prevention. 

There are two types of immunity: 

  • Passive immunity: 

This is when our body does not need to work for it. So, it is named passive immunity. For example, when a newborn receives antibodies through the mother’s placenta or breast milk.

Sometimes, doctors inject antibodies such as gamma globulins, which acts as passive immunity. 

  • Active or acquired immunity: 

When vaccination is done, the vaccine has no antibodies but some sample of the organism it has to fight. As we give the dose of the microbe that a human body can handle, it is easy to fight and win them. If needed, we also weaken these microbes to make it easier for our body. The aim here is for our body to generate antibodies against that particular microbe. 

As our body is actively fighting to develop these antibodies and create a memory, it is called active or acquired immunity. This is mostly done for potentially deadly infections that we don’t want to take a chance with. For example, immunization for children for polio. 

What are the side effects of vaccine administration? 

As our body is fighting because of the war inside, certain symptoms may occur. Most commonly: 

  • Swelling or redness at the injection site
  • Tenderness of the injection site and the surrounding area. Headache
  • Nausea 
  • Fever (a temperature higher than 38.5°C)
  • Weakness or tiredness

Sometimes, for the weakened individuals, the symptoms might be more serious, causing:

  • Diarrhoea 
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Vomiting

Luckily, these are not common in most vaccines. It is to be noted that a vaccine is not administered if one is already suffering from fever. This is because the immune system is already occupied with defence against another organism with an increased WBC count. In case of a vaccination appointment and fever the next day, contact the viral fever treatment hospital in Coimbatore.


Vaccination and immunisation are not the same, and now you know when to use which term. Use of the correct term can cause less confusion while communicating with a medical professional. Administer the recommended vaccines at the right age for your children at the general medicine hospital Coimbatore. Also, make sure that you and your partners take the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Vaccines and Immunizations - Sriramakrishnahospital

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