take/get the vaccine

Language Hound

Senior Member
American English
Ever since the COVID-19 vaccine has become available, I have been hearing so many people in the U.S. urging us to "Take the vaccine."
My first reaction is to ask, "Where to?"
Should I take the vaccine to Dr. Smith in the lab across the hall?
Should I take the vaccine to the hospital?
Should I take the vaccine to...? etc. etc.

Up until now, I have always heard and used the verb to get, e.g.,
Get your flu shot.
I got my flu shot.
The children need to get certain vaccines before school starts.
Has she gotten her chickenpox vaccine yet?


My questions to other AE speakers: Does this bother you as much as it bothers me?
Did you ever, in AE, hear "take" used to mean "get" a vaccine before the Coronavirus pandemic?
Why do you think so many people are now talking about "taking" the vaccine rather than "getting" it?
Thank you for your thoughts.:)
 
  • taraa

    Senior Member
    Persian
    We take medicine. We take a pill to fix this or that. I agree, I have never heard of taking a vaccine, but we've never spoken so much about vaccines before as routine or universal medicine.
    So both 'takes' in 'take medicine' and 'take vaccine' are the same?
     

    Shadiac

    Senior Member
    Russian - Moscow
    When you get a vaccine, you refer to the fact of being vaccinated. When you take a vaccine, you refer to the fact of absorbing the vaccine through your body. Both forms are different, but very closely related in this context.
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    When you get a vaccine, you refer to the fact of being vaccinated. When you take a vaccine, you refer to the fact of absorbing the vaccine through your body. Both forms are different, but very closely related in this context.
    The meaning of "Take the vaccine," as it is currently being used in the U.S. is "Get the vaccine."
    They are encouraging people to get vaccinated.
    I don't think you would tell someone to "absorb the vaccine through their body" ("Take" the vaccine) since this is not really something we have control over.
     

    Shadiac

    Senior Member
    Russian - Moscow
    I don't think you would tell someone to "absorb the vaccine through their body" ("Take" the vaccine) since this is not really something we have control over.
    Well, literally, that's what it is. People take meds, shots, etc. Don't see any problem there.

    Also (completely forgot), when you "get the vaccine", the context might imply that you're getting it for someone else.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm British. Here is my take on what this might mean.

    If I offer someone a gift, they can either take it or refuse it.

    If I offer someone a vaccine, they can either take it or refuse it.
    take
    7. to receive and accept willingly (something given or offered)
    take - WordReference.com Dictionary of English

    I can imagine someone urging: "If they offer you the vaccine, take it."
     

    Shadiac

    Senior Member
    Russian - Moscow
    My other comment's still awaiting moderation, so here's the excerpt from the link I posted within, from someone living in Greenburgh, NY

    I took my flu shot today at Rivertowns Pediatrics at 18 Ashford Ave Dobbs Ferry. Doctor Gupta indicated that since I proposed outdoor flu shots he has given out about 1000 shots. About 100 today. I believe that Scarsdale Medical is also offering the outdoor flu shots to their patients.

    It's just one example, many more can easily be googled. Therefore (replying to Language Hound), if you haven't heard of it - that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    My other comment's still awaiting moderation, so here's the excerpt from the link I posted within, from someone living in Greenburgh, NY



    It's just one example, many more can easily be googled. Therefore (replying to Language Hound), if you haven't heard of it - that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
    I've heard it recently but had never heard it before Covid, so the rate at which it is spreading in the language of native speakers must increasing.
     

    Shadiac

    Senior Member
    Russian - Moscow
    Still, I would rather say "I got my vaccine today. I took it as a flu shot, like everyone else."
    Same as "I got my Ativan today. I took it before nighttime, as prescribed".
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Still, I would rather say "I got my vaccine today. I took it as a flu shot, like everyone else."
    I would stop after "today". Unless you are known to be referring to a nasal vaccine, that's how they typically are administered. I don't think many people make the distinction you describe between got and took. For me, collocation of take with vaccine is still unusual, as it was for the OP :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Okay, personally, if someone would ask me about the vaccine, I would say "I got vaccinated today", end of story. But I was elaborating on the context of "verb the vaccine" :D
    I think my familiarity with other types of injection lacks any memory of the use of take. I have only heard it in connection with Covid.
     

    Peter_Gabriel

    Senior Member
    Polish
    However, I have found websites with ' take a vaccine'

    "If I choose not to take the vaccine can I re-arrange it for after Ramadan?"​

    I developed COVID infection three weeks after my first dose. Should I repeat my first dose or should I just take the booster dose after three months from the first dose?​

    Vaccine information - COVID-19 Staff FAQs - Oxford University Hospitals


    "Who should not take the vaccine?"​

    People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it.
    Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: What you need to know

    "Opinion: If you are healthy and refuse to take the vaccine, you are a free-rider​

    Yet for most people hesitant to take the vaccine, the problem is not polarization or conspiracy theories. It is inconvenience, needle fears and a vague sense of personal risk. It is the voice of safety and selfishness in our ear: If we are headed toward herd immunity anyway, what does it matter whether I get vaccinated?
    You probably will not hear this assessment from medical professionals, who are trained to be nonjudgmental. But being judgmental is pretty much my job description. So: If you are healthy and refuse to take the vaccine when your chance comes, you are a free rider. You are gaining the benefits of living in a community without paying the minimal cost. And, in the middle of a health emergency, this is shameful. During the past year, front-line workers — especially health workers — have taken far greater risks each day. Many have paid with their lives
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/15/healthy-refusing-covid-vaccine-shame-you/"

    "Speaking after the NBA All Star game on Sunday, James suggested he would not publicly reveal whether or not he would take a vaccine"
    March 8, 2021 coronavirus news
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    Yes, some people use the word "take". Many do not. A conmon situation in English where different grops of native speakers use different words.
    Agreed. I've noticed that many of the supposedly BrE instances of 'take the vaccine' seem to be from the Indian subcontinent: this almost certainly explains the only UK-based quote in #29. In BrE, we would usually say 'have', not 'take'.
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    Here, people ask ”have you had the vaccine?” not “did you get/take”. Who should have the vaccine, not who should get/take, etc.
     
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