Vaccination Is Not Equated Automatically with Development of Immunity
Posted by vaccinesme on Saturday, April, 18 2009 and filed under Basics
Key topics: Vaccination Immunization

In the CDC (Centers For disease Control) publication MMWR (December 1, 2006 / Vol. 55 / No. RR-15) there occurs the following clarification regarding "vaccination" and "immunization":

Vaccination and immunization. The terms vaccine and vaccination are derived from vacca, the Latin term for cow. Vaccine was the term used by Edward Jenner to describe material used (i.e., cowpox virus) to produce immunity to smallpox. The term vaccination was used by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century to include the physical act of administering any vaccine or toxoid. Immunization is a more inclusive term, denoting the process of inducing or providing immunity by administering an immunobiologic. Immunization can be active or passive. Active immunization is the production of antibody or other immune responses through administration of a vaccine or toxoid. Passive immunization means the provision of temporary immunity by the administration of preformed antibodies. Although persons often use the terms vaccination and immunization interchangeably in reference to active immunization, the terms are not synonymous because the administration of an immunobiologic cannot be equated automatically with development of adequate immunity.

In other words, vaccination, as a rule, does not lead to developed immunity. Connected to this is the issue of whether antibody production equates to protection from disease. We will cover this in other articles, since vaccines are marketed on the basis of their "efficacy" in generating an antibody response. So there are two issues: a) Does being vaccinated lead to the conclusion that one has developed immunity? b) Does generation of antibodies lead to the conclusion that one has been protected from the disease?

The answers to both these questions is no.