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Vaccination And Immunization

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Vaccination and Immunization are now an integral part of our health. The government has launched several vaccination and immunization drives to make every citizen safe from the corona. Both vaccination and immunization are related but different processes and protect us as well as animals against bacterial and viral disease Vaccination process involve the introduction of a vaccine (mainly through injection) into the individual whereas immunization is the process by which the body produces antibodies against vaccines containing weak pathogens. So, both vaccination and immunization make us and other animals healthy and disease free. 

History of Vaccination and Immunization

The foundation stone of vaccination and immunization lay in the 17 century. 

  • Edward Jenner was the first to develop the vaccine against smallpox in 1796. He observed that milkmaids that were affected by cowpox were immune to the smallpox vaccine. To test his observation, he inoculated the 8-year-old boy with the fluid taken from a sore of a milkmaid suffering from cowpox. After that, he again inoculated the boy with smallpox pustule. The boy showed resistance against the smallpox vaccine. This showed that boy has developed natural immunity against smallpox. He proved that if a person is inoculated with a mild form of the pathogen, he can develop immunity against it. So, Edward Jenner was the first person that has used the terms vaccine and vaccination for the first time. Due to his great efforts, he is also known as the “Father of Immunology”.
  • In 1885, Dr. Louis Pasteur has developed a vaccine against the disease rabies. He vaccinated a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. He was the first person to establish the scientific basis for vaccination. In addition to this, he also developed vaccines against chicken cholera and anthrax.
  • By the mid-20th century, Jonas Salk, MD, and Albert Sabin, MD developed a polio vaccine that has saved countless children worldwide from polio.


Vaccination and Immunization


  • Vaccination is the process by which a vaccine is introduced (mainly through injection) into the individual to protect it from any disease. The vaccine is an extract of a weak pathogen inserted into the infected individual.  
  • For example-suppose, a person has been diagnosed with hepatitis (liver) disease caused by heptaovirus. Now doctor will give him the vaccine (solution consisting of weak hepatovirus) through injection. This is vaccination. 
  • Union Health Minister of Delhi, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya has decided to launch ‘iNCOVACC’, the world’s first made-in-India nasal vaccine in the first week of February 2023. This vaccine is against coronavirus.


  • The word immunization is related to immunity. This means immunization is the process by which the body produces antibodies against pathogens that are inserted through vaccines. 
  • Let’s understand both vaccination and immunization with the help of a simple example. The first step is vaccination. For example- The doctor will give the vaccine (solution consisting of weak hepatovirus) through injection against hepatovirus. This is vaccination. 
  • Once vaccination is done, the next step is immunization. Once the weak hepatovirus enters the body, the body’s immune system will form multiple antibodies against the hepatovirus and kill it. This makes the body free from hepatovirus. This is immunization. 
  • So, this is how both vaccination and immunization are correlated but in different terms. They both make us and other domestic animal body disease free.

Also Read: Monoclonal Antibody

Difference Between Vaccination and Immunization

Vaccination and Immunization




It precedes immunization.It is the next step to vaccination.
A vaccine or extract of the weak pathogen is introduced into the individual.Body will produce antibodies against that weak pathogen and kill it.
The tetanus vaccine (containing a weak pathogen of tetanus bacteria) is given to patients suffering from tetanus disease.The body develops antibodies against that weak tetanus bacteria and kills it and makes the body free from bacteria. 
Vaccination is administrated to patients orally or by injection.No oral or injection administration is required. 
It does not guarantee complete resistance through disease. For example, to makes, if a person has weak immune system vaccination alone, The body can’t work. It guarantees complete resistance to the disease. Only a strong immune system can eradicate the pathogen completely.

Principle Behind Vaccination and Immunization

The principle of immunization or vaccination is based on the immune system’s property of ‘memory’. The vaccines given to individuals generate memory B and T cells that identify the previously attacked pathogen and kill them by producing antibodies against them. For example, in the case of snakebites, the doctors give an injection that consists of preformed antibodies against the venom. Similarly, if our body is diagnosed with tetanus, doctors give us an injection that consists of the weak pathogen of tetanus bacteria.

Types of Vaccines

Some of the types of vaccines are described as follows:

  • Subunit vaccines: They involve the use of fragments/subunits of pathogen that stimulates an immune response.  They are produced by genetic modification techniques, like DNA recombinant technology, thus known as recombinant vaccines. For example-hepatitis B virus is produced from genetically modified yeast.
  • Attenuated whole agent vaccines: Attenuated means weak microbe. For example, the Sabin polio vaccine is used against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), as orally administered typhoid vaccines, vaccines against TB, etc.
  • Inactivated whole agent vaccines: Inactivated means using microbes that have been killed. For example-vaccines for pneumococcal pneumonia, cholera pertussis, typhoid, etc.
  • Toxoid vaccines: These include vaccines that involve toxins produced by microbes or pathogens. For example-vaccine against tetanus and diphtheria.
  • Conjugated vaccines: These are made from a combination of polysaccharides with proteins.  It has been developed to provide immunity to children with poor immune responses. For example- a vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae type b.
  • First-generation vaccine: These vaccines are produced conventionally. For example- the vaccinia virus vaccine is manufactured in the skin of live animals like cows, sheep, etc.
  • Second-generation vaccines: These are produced by genetic engineering techniques. For example- vaccines against the herpes virus etc.
  • Third-generation vaccines: These synthetic vaccines are still under study. For example- vaccines against Herpes, Hepatitis C, AIDS, etc.

Is Immunization Harmful in Pregnancy?

Ideally, immunization should be done before the detection of pregnancy because many vaccines are not safe to be taken during the gestation period. The vaccines safe during pregnancy are- tetanus, inactivated poliomyelitis, cholera, hepatitis B, etc.


Immunization and vaccination are two different processes. In vaccination, a vaccine against a particular pathogen (bacteria or virus) is given to an individual whereas, in immunization, the vaccine inside the body produces antibodies that kill that pathogen. So basically, to kill a strong pathogen, a weak pathogen (vaccine) is introduced into the body. The body’s immune system develops an army or antibodies against it and kills that strong pathogen. The basic principle behind vaccination and immunization is that vaccines that enter the body generate memory B and T cells that recognize the pathogen quickly and kill them by producing massive lymphocytes and antibodies. These vaccines can be given at birth or after getting attacked with a specific disease. Several types of vaccines available include- inactivated whole-agent vaccines, attenuated whole-agent vaccines, toxoids, subunit vaccines, conjugated vaccines, and first, second, and third-generation vaccines. Not all vaccines are safe during pregnancy.

FAQs on Vaccination and Immunization

Question 1:  What is Antitoxin?


Antitoxin is a preparation that contains antibodies that neutralize the toxin. For example-to neutralize the effect of snake venom antitoxin vaccine is given to patients.

Question 2: What is a Toxoid?


It is a modified bacterial toxin that is non-toxic and stimulates the formation of antitoxin.

Question 3:  What is Passive Immunization?


In passive immunization, the individual does not produce antibodies of their own instead they receive antibodies from another source. For example-in snakebite, the doctor gives preformed antibodies against the snake venom.

Question 4:  What are Memory B cells and T cells?


The immune system consists of white blood cells- B cells and T cells. When again the same pathogen enters the body they recognize them and kill them.

Question 5:  Which Vaccines are Safe During Pregnancy?


Hepatitis B, cholera, inactivated poliomyelitis, influenza, tetanus, etc.

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Last Updated : 13 Feb, 2023
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