Difference between immunisation and vaccination

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In this pandemic era, most of us would have come across these two terms—vaccination and immunisation. If we go to a local store, switch on the TV, read some news articles, or watch some YouTube videos, these two terms will be constantly repeated again and again.

Yet many of us wouldn’t know clearly what they mean or the difference between immunisation and vaccination. Although the two terms — vaccination and immunisation are often used interchangeably, there lies a sharp distinction between them.

We can understand that the vaccination process is an action and immunisation is a reaction inside our body either due to vaccination or otherwise.

What is the difference between immunisation and vaccination?

The terms immunisation and vaccination are, however, related to each other. To understand the distinction between these two, you need to understand the vaccination definition.

Vaccination is the process of administering vaccines to your body to prevent a disease or an infection from occurring. This can be done by stimulating your immune system.

On the other hand, immunisation refers to a process in which your body’s immune system is being boosted. It either happens due to the contraction of a disease or the injection of vaccines.

Vaccination Immunisation 
Vaccination is the process of injection of vaccines into the body.  Immunisation is the process of boosting immunity by generating antibodies either due to vaccination or the contraction of a disease.  
It is generally administered by doctors through injection, nasal spray, etc.  It is not something that can be administered from the external environment. It’s your body’s response to a disease or vaccine.   
For example, administering the Polio vaccine is the process of vaccination.   How your body stimulates immunity from that Polio vaccine is the process of immunisation.  

How do they exactly work?

In addition, to know the differences, it is also crucial to learn how vaccination and immunisation work.

How do vaccines work?

A vaccine is a substance that contains dead or inactivated bacteria or viruses. This bacteria or virus is generally the disease-causing agent, commonly called an antigen. This vaccine can be injected into your body through injections, tablets, nasal spray, etc.

The actual vaccination definition is the process of administration of vaccines to prevent disease. Hence, it is essential to know that vaccination does not cure any disease.

Nowadays, with advanced technologies, the genetic material of the microbes such as RNA and DNA can also be injected as vaccines. The objective of any vaccine is to boost your immune system and make it capable of fighting a particular disease or a group of diseases.

The vaccine is one of the finest inventions that revolutionised the entire world. Many diseases, including life-threatening ones, have successfully been eliminated with their coming.

In India, diseases such as Smallpox and Polio have been eradicated successfully with the mass administration of vaccines.

How does immunisation work?

It develops antibodies when your body contracts with a disease-causing agent (antigen) such as bacteria or viruses. The antibody fights the bacteria or virus that enters your body. Generally, when you have more antibodies, it means your immunity is strong.

This antigen can enter your body either through the contraction of disease or through vaccination. The dead or attenuated microbe is injected into your body in the vaccination process.

This tricks your immune system by making it assume that antigens have entered your body. Hence, your body generates antibodies to fight those antigens, and your immune system is prepared for any battle.

In the event of contraction of the disease, your body will be well equipped with antibodies to fight that. This is known as Immunisation.

Immunisation schedule

Any country needs to make a conducive environment for the healthy living of its people. Likewise, in India, Universal Immunisation Programme was introduced and vaccines have been administered for various age groups according to the immunisation schedule.

As the habitable places in our country are getting denser and denser, the role of mass immunisation has become crucial. Accordingly, in many public health centres and hospitals, immunisation and vaccination charts are displayed.

This chart shows the list of vaccines available for various diseases and the immunisation schedule. It tells what age group needs which vaccine at what period. You can also get immunisation and vaccination charts from the internet.

To sum up

If you ever have the question, “Is there a difference between immunisation and vaccination?” you remind yourself the following: Vaccination is an external process and immunisation is an internal process, and yes, there is a stark difference between these two terms.

With this unending pandemic, in the cloud of confusion regarding vaccines, it is essential to develop at least a basic knowledge about them.


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The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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