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Definition - What does immunize mean?

Immunize is a verb referring to the process of triggering the body's natural immune response with the purpose of making an individual immune to a targeted disease. Sometimes referred to as vaccination, or less often inoculation, immunization introduces an antigen into the body that causes the body to respond by producing antibodies. It is the creation of these antibodies in response to the immunization's stimuli that allows the individual to develop an immunity to the targeted disease.

SureHire explains immunize

When exposed to a disease-causing virus or bacteria, the human immune system responds by developing antibodies to destroy or neutralize the foreign invader. However, some diseases are able to overwhelm the body's immune defenses, causing severe illness or even death. To prevent these diseases from gaining a foothold, scientists have developed vaccines which trigger the body's immune system to develop the needed disease-specific antibodies without causing a full-blown illness.

Vaccines may be administered orally, via injection or through other methods to immunize the person against disease. In some instances, the vaccines used to immunize individuals are developed using a live but weakened virus or bacteria. Other vaccines are made using just a part of the virus or bacteria or a killed (inactivated) form. Some vaccines employ manmade materials that are biosimilar to the natural disease and are able to trigger the appropriate immune response.

Sometimes an individual is immunized, not against the virus or bacteria, but against the toxins it produces in the body. So, while a person may still become infected, the harm caused by the disease is minimized.

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