Understanding the difference between vaccines, vaccinations, and immunizations can be tricky. Below is an easy guide that explains how these terms are used:
- A vaccine is a product that produces immunity from a disease and can be administered through needle injections, by mouth, or by aerosol.
- A vaccination is the injection of a killed or weakened organism that produces immunity in the body against that organism.
- An immunization is the process by which a person or animal becomes protected from a disease. Vaccines cause immunization, and there are also some diseases that cause immunization after an individual recovers from the disease.
- Learn more about the benefits and risks of immunization including how vaccines are monitored for safety, answers to common questions, what is in vaccines, and who should be vaccinated.
- Vaccines help prevent many serious diseases. Learn more about how vaccines work and the extensive testing process they undergo to ensure they are effective and safe.
- Thanks to vaccines, many diseases have been nearly eliminated. Read this section to learn more vaccines and your immune system.
- Vaccines save lives by preventing outbreaks of disease and protecting those who cannot be vaccinated. Read this section to learn about the community benefits of vaccines.
Last reviewed: March 2011