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Difference Between Vaccination and Immunization

vaccinationThe regular shots you take against certain diseases may hurt you a lot. Just remember- the diseases they prevent may hurt you much more. There has been a lot of discussion about which is better- natural immunization or vaccination. If you are confused about the usage of the two terms, take a look at the section below.

Both immunizations and vaccines refer to a condition where the body is made indifferent against a disease. The difference lies in how you acquire this indifference. Immunization is the general term used for all types of indifference your body acquires towards a disease. You may acquire it naturally, by getting the disease at some stage. You may also acquire it through an artificial exposure to a controlled amount of the germs causing the disease. This is called a vaccination. In a sense, a vaccination is also a type of immunization. The only difference is that you do it artificially, in a safer manner.

Even though you may find the term being used indiscriminately, they actually mean different things. Vaccines may contain weakened or dead germs that are capable of producing a disease. However, the germs are either dead or weakened to such an extent that they are incapable of causing the illness. When these are introduced into our body as a vaccine, it develops antibodies against them. If you are wondering what antibodies are, they are nature’s soldiers, fighting against any perceived ‘threat’ to the body. Once your body produces these antibodies, they live on. If you ever encounter the virus or germ again, these antibodies kill them off before they can harm your body.

Now, the same thing happens in an immunization. The only difference is that the process is natural. Once you get an illness and your body overcomes it, it ‘stores away’ this information in the form of those antibodies. As in a vaccination, those antibodies fight back if you encounter the virus or germ a second time.

Are you wondering why people get vaccinated if they can gain immunity in the natural way? This is because most diseases do not give you a chance to live beyond the first attack. Think about diseases like tetanus, small pox and diphtheria. Millions of people worldwide have died of these dreaded diseases, before the vaccines were developed. Other diseases have caused irreparable damage to the body of the surviving individual. Would you like to take a chance loosing you life or becoming disabled, just to go the ‘natural way?’

Today, we have vaccines against fatal diseases like rubella, polio, tetanus and pertussis. Efforts are also on to develop the first vaccines against the dreaded swine flu. When you get a vaccine, you ensure protection against a number of diseases in a safe and secure way. It is one of the miracles of modern science
So next time you dread the poke of that needle on your arm, think about the miseries you are avoiding- it won’t hurt that bad!

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7 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this to us. I really appreciated the information that i got from this site. keep it up! :D

  2. I am one of those who has been confused by/confusing the two words. After reading your explanation, I feel am tick. this is great as am able to explain the difference to others

  3. Kudos! This is water tight information. Keep on doing the good work.

  4. I would just like to point out it is impossible to: “ensure protection against a number of diseases in a safe and secure way.” Better chances yes, perfect odds, no.

  5. The author is clearly confused on the subject. Viruses are non-living organisms where as germs are indeed living, germs and bacteria are interchangeable terms. An immunization and a Vaccine are the same thing as in both cases a version of the virus (which can be inactive or active but reproduces slower than usual). You learn this in a basic microbiology course. The body as the author states correctly, does indeed make antibodies where the next time the real virus comes around the body can fight it off. This process happens naturally all together the basic point is you have to be introduced to a strain first.

    • Exactly. Also, the body doesn’t become “indifferent” something when it is immunized. Quite the contrary. Immunization causes the body to produce memory cells that can later be activated to produce antibodies. The author is confused about basic immunology terms.

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