Vaccines and vaccinations 

Vaccines are substances that stimulate the immune system into producing immunity to a specific disease. 

Vaccination is the act of administering a vaccine into the body. 

Immunisation is the process whereby someone becomes protected against a disease after they have been vaccinated. It is often used interchangeably with vaccination. For consistency, use vaccination. 

Vaccines against the coronavirus (COVID-19) should be referred to as “COVID-19 vaccines”.  

When discussing COVID-19 vaccines in general, use “a COVID-19 vaccine” rather than “the COVID-19 vaccine”. This is because there are multiple types of vaccines and so we need to make it clear we are talking about all vaccines. 

Only refer to a specific type of COVID-19 vaccine by name if you need to make the distinction between the vaccine types clear. There are currently three COVID-19 vaccines being administered in the UK: 

  • Moderna  
  • Pfizer-BioNTech 
  • Oxford-AstraZeneca 

When discussing vaccine doses, refer to them as the first dose and the second dose. 

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in January 2021. 

More than 23,000 people have received the first dose of their vaccine.  

The number of people receiving their vaccinations has doubled. 

Vaccination centres have been set up across the UK. 

View the full GOV.UK coronavirus style guide for more COVID-19 terms and phrases.