Plain language examples for vaccines

Between the annual flu shot and the new COVID vaccines, there is a lot of talk about vaccinations right now! Some of the words and phrases can be confusing. Here are some plain language translations for common vaccine terms.

Vaccinations/immunizations: When a person is given medicine to make their body learn to fight a disease.

Adverse reaction: An unexpected health outcome – like redness or an allergic reaction.

Antibody: A protein your body makes to fight illness.

Clinical trial: The testing of medical drugs, vaccines or procedures in human volunteers to see if they are useful and safe.

Herd immunity: When a large part of a population can fight off a disease so that the disease cannot spread as easily.

Live virus vaccine: A vaccine that contains a weakened version of the disease so your body learns to fight it off.

Killed virus vaccine: A vaccine that does not contain a weakened version of the disease.

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