What are vaccines?

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Vaccines are products that protect people against many diseases that can be very dangerous and even deadly. Different than most medicines that treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent you from getting sick with the disease in the first place.

You will see the terms vaccines, vaccinations, and immunizations used across this site. The following is a simple guide to help you remember their definitions:

  • Vaccines are products that produce immunity to a specific disease. When you are immune to a disease, it means you are protected against that disease (you can be exposed to it without becoming sick). Most vaccines are given by injection (needle), but some are given orally (by mouth) or nasally (sprayed into the nose). 
  • Vaccination is the act of introducing a vaccine into the body to produce immunity to a specific disease. 
  • Immunization is the process by which a person or animal becomes protected against a disease. This term is often used interchangeably with vaccination. 

 

 

 

 

Date last updated: 
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Date last reviewed: 
Thursday, Mar 19, 2020