Glossary

Last modified

February 22, 2017 @ 11:31 AM

There’s no shortage of jargon when it comes to discuss issues around vaccination, so we’ve compiled a list explaining commonly terms to help demystify the subject.

Adjuvant

A substance added to a medicine or vaccine to change how the effect of other ingredients without having a direct effect when given by itself. These are often included in vaccines in order to improve the recipient’s immune response to an antigen. This helps to minimise the level of antigen required.

Adverse reaction

An unexpected, unwanted or dangerous reaction to a medicine or vaccine. These reactions are sometimes referred to as “adverse events”.

Antibody

Protein found in blood which the immune system uses to identify and fight foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses

Antigen

A molecule recognised by the immune system. ‘Self’ antigens are usually tolerated by the immune system whereas ‘Non-self’ antigens are seen as intruders and attacked by antibodies.

Attenuated vaccine

A vaccine created by reducing the virulence of a pathogen but still keeping it ‘live’ so as to ensure an immune response. The aim is to render the living agent harmless or less virulent.