Immunization, Vaccination And Vaccines

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The two public health interventions that have had greatest impact on the world’s health are clean water and vaccines. (childhood immunization, 2011)

We are shielded from infectious diseases by our system, which destroys diseases causing germs once they enter into our body. If our system is not quick or strong enough to stop those germs, we get sick. We use vaccines to prevent this from happening. Therefore immunization and vaccination are important to safeguard our self and other people around.

Edward Janner is taken into account the founder of vaccinology within the west in 1976, after he inoculated a 13 years old boy with vaccine virus (cow pox) and demonstrated immunity to small pox. In 1978, the primary smallpox vaccine was developed. (Riedel, 2005)

Vaccination is defined as a term used for getting vaccines but immunization is defined as the process of receiving both the vaccines and becoming resistant to the diseases following vaccination. With safety, immunization or vaccines effectively use low amount of a weakened or killed virus or bacteria that imitate the virus so as to stop infection by that same virus or bacteria. (Levinson, 2018)

Immunization is the most profitable public heath intervention. Each year millions of people were prevented from illness and death by vaccines. “Annually, about two million children still die from diseases that are accessible at low cost. Over 90,000 fall victim to paralytic polio, this could also have been prevented by immunization.” (Riedel, 2005)

What is immunity?

The ability of a body to resist infection or diseases.

Our immune system is essential for our survival because without an immune system, our bodies would be attacked by bacteria, virus, parasites and etc. (Deepa & G, 2015)

Two ways to develop immunity;

  1. Natural infection
  2. Vaccination.

Vaccines: are unnatural ways of activating the system to safeguard against infectious diseases.

It stimulates production of protective antibody and other immune mechanisms.

Vaccination: is defined as the term used to get vaccine.

Purpose of vaccination

  • To protect the individual from diseases.
  • To reduce the severity of diseases.
  • To protect the community.
  • To eradicate the diseases.

Route of immunization;

  • Intradermal: BCG
  • Subcutaneous: Measles, MMR, Meningococcal, Varcilla.
  • Intramuscular: DTP, Hep A, Hep B, Hib. (Anand, 2015)

Site of administration;

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  • Deltoid: BCG
  • Triceps (posterior skin fold): Measles, MMR, Meningococcal, Varcilla.
  • Vastus lateralis: Anterolateral aspect of thigh in infants. (Anand, 2015)

Types of vaccines

1. Live vaccines/ live attenuated

  • Contains weakened type of wild virus or bacteria.
  • Produce local immunity.
  • Usually single dose is enough.
  • More suitable for mass immunization.
  • Unstable and severe reactions are possible.
  • May get inhibited by circulating antibodies.

Example: Bacterial-BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin), Oral typhoid.

Viral- OPV (oral polio vaccine), MMR (Measles-Mumps- Rubella), Varicella.

2. Killed vaccines/ inactivation vaccines

  • Organisms are killed or inactivated by heat or chemicals but remains antigenic.
  • Vaccines are stable.
  • Immunity induced is not permanent.
  • Multiple doses are required.

Example: Bacterial- DTP (Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertusis vaccine).

Viral- IPV (inactivated polio vaccines), Rabies, Hep A.

3. Toxoids Vaccines

  • Toxoids are modified toxins.
  • Primary immunization is in the form of multiple divided doses in order to decrease the side effects.
  • To sustain the protection, booster doses are required.

Example: TT (Tetanus Toxoids), diphtheria

4. Subunit, conjugate and recombinant vaccines;

  • Contains bacterial capsular polysaccharide.
  • Eg: Hib (Haemophilus influenza B vaccine), meningococcal, pneumococcal.
  • Or contains viral surface antigens. Eg- Hep B
  • Produce only IgM antibodies.
  • To introduce microbial DNA to cells of the body, weakened virus is used.

Eg-HPV (Human papillomavirus)

How are vaccines administered?

There are many ways of administering vaccine and most are administered through vaccines. But with the development in medical field, here are some ways of administering vaccines aside from injection such as;

  • Nasal spray: through nose. Eg-flu injection.
  • Inhalant: inhale through mouth. Eg-measles vaccine.
  • Orally: certain vaccines can be given in the form of tablet.
  • Micro needle: certain flu vaccine can shoot the substances into the body without making use of needles. (Riedel, 2005)
  • Economics of vaccination: health determines the economic prosperity of the country. This can be because healthier individuals are better at contributing to the economic development of a county than a sick.
  • If someone gets vaccinated, diseases won’t infect him and also he will be able to protect those around him. This results in healthier society, which allows individuals to be more economically productive.


Definition: According to World Health Organization, “immunization is defined as the process of making a person resistant to infectious diseases after getting vaccines.”

How does immunization works?

When you get an immunization, you are injected with a weakened form of diseases. This triggers our body’s reaction, causing it to either produce antibodies to that particular disease or induce other processes that enhance immunity. (childhood immunization, 2011)

In future, again if we are exposed to that particular diseases causing organism, our immune system is ready to fight the infection. A vaccine will usually prevent the onset of diseases or reduce its severity.

Goal of immunization

  • To generate B and T memory cells.
  • To increase immune response to pathogens.
  • To minimize adverse effects.
  • To prevent/reduce severity of infectious diseases.

Types of immunization;

  1. Passive
  2. Active.


In conclusion, it is important to get vaccinated and immunized because the goal of public health is to prevent diseases. It is easier and more cost effective to prevent diseases than to treat it.

Immunization protects us from serious disease and also prevents the spread of these diseases to others. Over the years, some infectious diseases like measles, mumps and respiratory diseases were prevented from spreading by immunization. Some vaccines must be one time. Other requires updates or boosters to make immunization successful and continued protection against diseases (Riedel, 2005).

As we all know that “Prevention is better than cure”, immunization and vaccination are the important factors to protect our self and people around us from infectious diseases.


  1. Anand, A. (2015). slideshare. Retrieved from slide:
  2. childhood immunization. (2011). Retrieved from world health organisation:
  3. Deepa, P. a., & G. (2015). Anatomy and Physiology for nurses. Jaypee Brothers Medial Publisher.
  4. Levinson, W. (2018). Medical Microbiology and immunology. Medical publishing division.
  5. Richard V Goering, M. Z., & Peter L Chiodini, C. M. (2008). Medical Microbiology. Elesevier Limited.
  6. Riedel. (2005). Edward Jenner and the history of small pox and vaccination.
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Immunization, Vaccination And Vaccines. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
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