vaccinate OR inoculate

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  • Pticru

    Senior Member
    U.S.-- English
    And what about "immunize"? :)
    I have the feeling inoculate is a bit old-fashioned, and plus it has an additional meaning:
    5. To introduce an idea or attitude into the mind of.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Inoculate - to introduce to a person or animal some kind of active disease agent causing a mild form of something and so stimulating immunity to a more severe form.

    Vaccinate - was originally to inoculate using cowpox virus to prevent smallpox, now used more generally.

    Immunize - to make a person or animal immune to a disease, for example.

    The current programmes in the UK are referred to as vaccination and immunization.
     

    audiolaik

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Innoculate - to introduce to a person or animal some kind of active disease agent causing a mild form of something and so stimulating immunity to a more severe form.

    Vaccinate - was originally to inoculate using cowpox virus to prevent smallpox, now used more generally.

    Immunize - to make a person or animal immune to a disease, for example.

    The current programmes in the UK are referred to as vaccination and immunization.
    innoculate or inoculate?:confused:

    So, we can't use them interchangeably, can we?
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Those of us who are medical and/or biological science professionals use "inoculate" to describe other actions besides immunizing. Definition 3 in the link is a daily part of my job duties and the first thing I thought of when I saw the word.

    While you could use inoculate in place of vaccinate, I just wanted to point out that certain audiences would rely on context to know which definition you were using. Luckily, we scientists catch on quickly. :D

    I, too, think that immunize is a better synonym for vaccinate.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Sorry, only one n - that's yet another of my little failures :( I'd better fix that in the original post.

    I'm not sure about using the terms interchangeably - but immunization is a useful general term.
     

    gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Surely "vaccination" is typically regarded as the introduction of a vaccine by rubbing it into a scratch, whereas inoculation would indicate that the substance to be introduced would be injected through the skin to various depths.
     

    Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    Yes, Gasman, that's how the original vaccinations (against smallpox) were done, but the word has long since lost that specificity.
     

    lablady

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Surely "vaccination" is typically regarded as the introduction of a vaccine by rubbing it into a scratch, whereas inoculation would indicate that the substance to be introduced would be injected through the skin to various depths.
    That may have been the original definition, but "vaccination" has expanded to include injected vaccines as well. As a vaccine by definition is a preparation of killed or weakened organisms, I think that is what determines if it is called a "vaccination", and not the method of introducing the vaccine into the body.

    (For example, the polio vaccine is administered orally. Or it was when my children were small - I no longer have small children so my experience is dated.)
     
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