Difference Between Vaccination and Immunisation

One of the most effective ways of disease prevention, vaccines, helps protect the body against several disease-causing agents. Vaccines are known to protect us from more than 25 types of life-threatening diseases. These diseases include measles, typhoid, influenza and tetanus.

While discussing vaccines, the words immunisation and vaccination are used together quite often, but the question is, do they mean the same thing?

The World Health Organisation defines immunisation as the process which helps make an individual immune to a particular infectious disease. This is done by administering a vaccine. 

For example, before the booster dose is administered to a child or an infant, it may not be able to fight off diseases like tetanus or diphtheria. Therefore, immunisation is a very beneficial preventive measure that can control and eradicate several life-threatening diseases. When a vaccine is administered to a person, his or her immune system develops many antibodies, so that he or she does not get sick from the same agent again. 

So, what is the difference between vaccination and immunisation?


Immunisation vs Vaccination

In clinical terms, a vaccine is a product that triggers an individual’s immune system. It helps to increase the person’s immunity towards specific diseases and also protects the person from the ailments. Also, a vaccine is generally administered via a needle injection and can also be administered through the mouth or nose. 

Life-threatening epidemics such as smallpox that claimed millions of lives have now been completely eradicated thanks to effective vaccination. So, the difference between immunisation and vaccination lies in the fact that a body can only develop immunity when it is properly administered with a vaccine.

However, an individual's immunity can also be increased by natural means. For instance, a person who suffered from chickenpox or measles is unlikely to contract it again. A person becomes immune thanks to the creation of antibodies in his or her system. This is done by exposure to weak or deactivated forms of microbes. This is also known as inoculation.

The Following Table Further Highlights the Difference Between Vaccination and Immunisation


Vaccination

Immunisation

In vaccination, a dose of weakened or dead microbes is introduced into the body of a healthy individual.

A person is said to undergo immunisation once he or she is administered with a vaccine, and his or her body starts to build up antibodies.

A vaccine is usually administered through a needle, or some form of oral medium. It may also be sprayed through the nose.

Immunisation is not administered – it is the body’s natural way to fight diseases by triggering the immune system.

Vaccination does not ensure complete protection from disease. For instance, the vaccine called Imovax Rabies only provides resistance from rabies. It does not guarantee that a person will not be infected by it if exposed to the microbe.

A person can only be said to be completely immune when he or she contracts a disease and recovers from it. The immune system builds up a host of antibodies through the process, and up until the recovery. For example, if a person contracts rabies and recovers, he or she is said to be immune to rabies.

If disease-causing microbes and pathogens undergo mutation in a bid to evolve, they might render any vaccine or form of immunisation ineffective. This is why there is no vaccine for common cold.

The mutations caused in the genetic makeup of microbes can severely affect an individual’s immune response to diseases.


Pop Quiz 1

  1. Which of the following diseases has no vaccines?

  1. Tetanus

  2. Typhoid

  3. Common cold

  4. H₁N₁

A vaccine does not cause disease when administered. It is merely a modified version of an immunogen and may consist of either an entire pathogen, a toxin or just some of its components. More so, it only causes a healthy individual to elicit an initial response to the pathogen and generate many memory B and T cells.

Vaccines ensure protection to everyone and help generate communal immunity. Though vaccines and immunisation are essentially part of one process, they are quite different in what they mean.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Difference Between a Vaccine and an Immunisation?

Ans. A vaccine is usually administered through a needle or orally. It may also be sprayed through the nose. It enhances the body's immunity. 

Immunisation is not administered – it is the body’s natural way to fight diseases by triggering the immune system.

2. Are Vaccines Completely Effective?

Ans. Vaccination does not ensure complete protection from disease. For instance, the vaccine called Imovax Rabies only provides resistance from rabies. It does not guarantee that a person will not be infected by it if exposed to the microbe.

3. What is an Immunisation?

Ans. The World Health Organisation defines immunisation as the process which helps make an individual immune to a specific infectious disease. This is done by administering a certain type of vaccine.