Understanding Medical Abbreviations and Acronyms for Vaccines On Your Child’s Immunization Record

immunization vaccination card

Medical abbreviations are often found similar to one another. It might be a challenge to understand which immunization an acronym or abbreviation is referring to. In this post, we’ll help you understand the most standard abbreviations and acronyms found in the vaccine records of your little one. It will help you remain up to date regarding your child’s immunizations and also help you in filling out the forms.

What Information Is Covered in a Vaccination Record?

Most of the vaccination or immunization records cover the following information:

  • Type of Vaccination: This will state the specific type of vaccination. For example, MMR (given for measles, mumps, and rubella) or MMRV (given for measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella). In this column all the abbreviations of the vaccines will be written.
  • Given Date: The correct date with day, month, and year on which the vaccine was given should be mentioned. This information is needed to calculate the next dose of some vaccines.
  • Route and Site: This denotes the route of vaccine or how the vaccine was administered. Vaccines can be oral, intranasal, or intramuscular. If the vaccine was injected then the location, such as a left-arm or right thigh, etc. will also be mentioned.
  • Lot Number: Every vaccine has a lot number of the manufacturer, which is generally recorded to immediately address any issues with the vaccine.
  • Information Statement of Vaccine: This information denotes the date of manufacture of the vaccine and the date on which it was administered.
  • Name of the Vaccinator: Name and signature of the person who has administered the vaccine. This person is generally a nurse or a medical attendant.

Some information in the record may be self-explanatory. However, most is written down in codes. Read on to know some commonly-used abbreviations in your child’s vaccination record.

Common Vaccination Abbreviations and Their Full Forms

Below mentioned are the vaccine acronyms that are commonly found in a child’s immunization records:

  1. DTP: Diphtheria, tetanus, and whole-cell pertussis vaccine.
  2. AVA: Anthrax vaccine adsorbed.
  3. DT: Pediatric diphtheria and tetanus toxoids.
  4. BCG: Tuberculosis vaccine Bacille Calmette Guerin.
  5. ccIIV3: Cell-culture based inactivated influenza vaccine.
  6. DTaP: Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine.
  7. HepA: Hepatitis A vaccination (Havrix and Vaqta).
  8. Hep B: Hepatitis B vaccination.
  9. HepB – IPV: Hepatitis B vaccine and inactivated poliovirus vaccine.
  10. elPV: Enhanced inactivated polio vaccine.
  11. Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine.
  12. HPV: Human Papillomavirus.
  13. HPV2: Bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix).
  14. HPV4: Quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil).
  15. HPV9: Noavalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil).
  16. IPV: Inactivated poliovirus vaccine.
  17. IIV: Inactivated influenza vaccine (Previously known as TIV).
  18. IIV3: Trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine.
  19. IIV4: Quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine.
  20. JE: Japanese encephalitis.
  21. JE-VC: Japanese encephalitis chimeric virus vaccination.
  22. LAIV: Live Attenuated influenza vaccine.
  23. LAIV4: Live attenuated Influenza vaccine Quadrivalent.
  24. MenB: Sergroup B meningococcal vaccine (Bexsero and Trumenba).
  25. MMR: Measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.
  26. MMRV: Measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine (varicella vaccine is given to kids between 12-15 months of age to prevent chickenpox).
  27. MCV4: Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Quadrivalent).
  28. MPSV4: Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Quadrivalent).
  29. OPV: Oral polio vaccine.
  30. PCV: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
  31. PCV7: Heptavalent Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
  32. PCV13: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that protects against 13 different kinds of pneumococcal bacteria.
  33. PPSV23: Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine that protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.
  34. RV: Rotavirus vaccine.
  35. RV1: Monovalent Rotavirus Vaccine (Rotarix).
  36. RV5: Pentavalent Rotavirus Vaccine (RotaTeq).
  37. Tdap: Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine (An abbreviation for tetanus shots).
  38. Td: Tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (adult formulation).
  39. VAR: Varicella vaccine.
  40. Ty21a: Live oral Typhoid vaccine.

Abbreviation Used to Indicate the Method a Vaccine is Administered

Often, you’ll find abbreviations for the method the vaccine was administered in. Here are some of them:

  1. PO: Oral administration or by mouth administration of the vaccine.
  2. IM: IM stands for intramuscular injection, which requires a needle to be injected into a large muscle which is either found in the thigh or the upper arms.
  3. IN: IN stands for intranasal injection wherein the vaccine is administered through the nose. This type of vaccination is quite uncommon these days.
  4. Sub Q, SQ or SC: Subcutaneous injection, this involves a superficial injection which requires the horizontal or angled insertion of the needle, just beneath the skin.

Abbreviations Used to Show the Location/Site of Vaccination

As with the method of vaccination in the record, you will also find acronyms used for the location/site of the vaccination.

  1. LA: Left Arm
  2. RA: Right Arm
  3. LT: Left Thigh
  4. RT: Right Thigh

Other Common Terms Used in the Vaccine Medical Records

There are some more common terms you’ll find in the medical records. Here are some of them:

1. Acellular Vaccine: As opposed to complete cells, an acellular vaccine is a vaccine that contains only a partial cellular material.

2. Active Immunity: Active immunity refers to the production of antibodies in the immune system to fight a specific disease. Active immunity can be acquired in two ways, i.e. through a vaccine or by contracting the disease. Active immunity is generally considered permanent, which means the individual is protected from a specific disease for the entire duration of his/her lives.

3. Inactivated Vaccines: Vaccines that are produced with the help of the inactivated version of the infection producing microorganism.

4. Live Attenuated Vaccine: These types of vaccines are created using live viruses with reduced/weakened virulence. They are believed to provide immunity for a longer period, but it can be unsafe if you have weakened immunity. Some of the live attenuated vaccines are rubella, measles, mumps, varicella, rotavirus, yellow fever, smallpox, and also some formulations of influenza, shingles, and typhoid vaccine.

5. Conjugate Vaccine: This type of vaccine evokes the immune response in the body against a specific microorganism by using a part of the infectious agent (strong antigen) and a part of the weakened agent (weak antigen).

6. Toxoid Vaccine: Rather than making use of the microorganism itself, this type of vaccine uses a part of the harmful toxin that is produced from the microorganism to build immunity against the harmful toxin.

7. Bivalent Vaccine: A bivalent vaccine is designed to target two strains of a microorganism.

8. Adverse Event: An adverse event refers to a negative outcome after medical treatment. Generally, adverse events are considered more severe than common side effects. For instance, an allergy to immunization can be considered as an adverse event.

9. Side Effects: A side effect can be termed as a reaction that may occur after exposure to medical treatment such as vaccination, surgery, or medication. The most common side effects include redness, soreness, pain at the site of injection, or a feeling of run down.

10. Herd Immunity: This term describes a situation wherein the disease is less prevalent and is very less likely to spread when more number of people are vaccinated for it. In general, people with weak immunity, such as those who are being treated for cancer, premature babies, or those with HIV infections are more likely to get infected with infectious diseases even after being immunized.

11. Combination Vaccine: This is referred to a vaccine that can protect against two or more diseases. Some combination vaccines can also protect against diseases caused by different strains or the same organism.

12. Booster Shots: Booster shots are those additional dosages of vaccine that are administered periodically to boost the immune system of the individual. For instance, the Td vaccine is recommended for adults every ten years for tetanus and diphtheria.

13. Antibody: Antibody refers to the protein formed in the blood in response to foreign particles like bacteria and viruses that invade our body. Antibodies protect against diseases by binding to these organisms and destroying them.

14. Contraindication: A rare condition in which the patient is likely to result in a life-threatening situation if a vaccine were given.

Gathering as much information regarding the various vaccinations and their history can be enlightening and helpful. The immunization and vaccinations are considered very safe and also protect us against a number of deadly diseases and dangerous epidemics.

The next time you happen to come across immunization vaccination acronyms, we are sure you will know most of them. If not, refer to this article again to know what has been recorded about your little one’s immunization. The information is quite easy to understand once you know the basics.

Also Read: 

Myths And Facts of Vaccination
Vaccination in the First 24 Hours For a Newborn
Can Infants Have Vaccination with Cold or Cough?