Vaccination glossary

A B D F H I J L M O P R T V Y 3 4 5

A

Adjuvant
An agent used as a component in some vaccines to produce stronger and longer-lasting protection against a disease. Aluminium salt is one example of an adjuvant. More information: THL, Immunisation: Adjuvants (in Finnish)

Anaphylactic shock
Anaphylaxis is a sudden hypersensitive reaction that can include itching, swelling in the face and neck and difficulty breathing. More information: THL, Immunisation: Anaphylaxis (in Finnish)

Antigen
The active agent in a vaccine. Activates the body’s defense systems. Triggers the production of antibodies against the pathogen. More information: THL, Immunisation: Antigen (in Finnish)

Additive
Additives are used to improve a vaccine’s effectiveness, shelf life and composition. The most important additive is water, which is used to dilute the vaccine. Other additives include adjuvants, preservatives and gelatin, for example. More information: THL, Immunisation: Vaccine composition (in Finnish)

B

BCG
Bacille Calmette-Guérin. The tuberculosis vaccine is included in the National Immunisation Programme for children under seven years of age who are at an elevated risk of tuberculosis infection. The vaccine is also administered to other risk groups. One dose provides protection for approximately 15 years. More information: THL, Immunisation: BCG vaccine (in Finnish)

D

dT
Diphtheria (d), tetanus (T). The diphtheria-tetanus vaccine is administered as a booster shot to adults as part of the National Immunisation Programme. The vaccine needs to be boosted at 20-year intervals until the age of 65, after which the booster interval is 10 years. Having previously had diphtheria or tetanus does not provide immunity against a new infection. Lower case letters indicate a lower quantity of antigens, while upper case letters indicate a higher quantity. More information: THL, Immunisation: dT vaccine (in Finnish)

dtap = 3-in-1 vaccine
Diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), acellular pertussis (ap). A vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. The 3-in-1 vaccine is administered as a booster for adolescents aged 14–15 years as part of the National Immunisation Programme. Lower case letters indicate a lower quantity of antigens, while upper case letters indicate a higher quantity. More information: THL, Immunisation: dtap vaccine (in Finnish)

DTaP-IPV = 4-in-1 vaccine
Diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), acellular pertussis (aP), inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV). A vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio.  The 4-in-1 vaccine boosts and extends the protection conferred by the 5-in-1 vaccine received in infancy. Usually administered as part of the routine immunisation schedule for children. Lower case letters indicate a lower quantity of antigens, while upper case letters indicate a higher quantity. More information: THL, Immunisation: DTaP-IPV (in Finnish)

DTaP-IPV-Hib = 5-in-1 vaccine
Diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), acellular pertussis (aP), inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). The 5-in-1 vaccine is administered in three doses, usually at the ages of three, five and twelve months, but no later than the age of five years. Protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and the Hib diseases, which include meningitis, epiglottitis, sepsis and pneumonia. Lower case letters indicate a lower quantity of antigens, while upper case letters indicate a higher quantity. More information: THL, Immunisation: DTaP-IPV-Hib  (in Finnish)

F

Finnish National Vaccination Programme
The Finnish National Vaccination Programme that includes the basic vaccines provided free of charge in basic health care. More information: THL, Immunisation: Finnish national vaccination programme

H

HAV
Hepatitis A Virus. A vaccine against the Hepatitis A virus, which causes inflammation of the liver. The virus spreads easily via food and drinks. The vaccine is recommended for people who travel abroad. Intravenous drug users and those in close contact with them, men who have sex with men and haemophilia patients have an increased risk of infection, which is why they receive the vaccination free of charge. The vaccine is also used after exposure to halt a potential infection. The vaccination protocol usually consists of two shots that provide immunity that is likely lifelong. More information: THL, Immunisation: Hepatitis A vaccine (in Finnish)

HBV
Hepatitis B Virus. A vaccine against the Hepatitis B virus, which causes inflammation of the liver. The virus is easily transmitted via blood contact or via contaminated acupuncture and tattoo needles. Vaccination is recommended for people travelling to a region with moderate or high incidence of disease and who are at increased risk of being infected. Intravenous drug users and those in close contact with them, men who have sex with men and haemophilia patients have an increased risk of infection, which is why they receive the vaccination free of charge. The vaccine is also used after exposure to halt a potential infection. The vaccination protocol usually consists of three shots that provide immunity that is likely lifelong. More information: THL, Immunisation: Hepatitis B vaccine (in Finnish)

HAV and HBV
A combination vaccine against the Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B viruses, both of which cause inflammation of the liver. More information: THL, Immunisation: Hepatitis A and B vaccine (in Finnish)

Herd immunity
When a sufficiently high percentage of a population has been vaccinated and is immune to a given disease. This prevents the spread of the disease, which provides unvaccinated people with increased protection. Herd immunity varies between diseases. For example, the vaccination coverage for diphtheria needs to be at least 70 per cent, while the corresponding figure for measles is 95 per cent. Herd immunity does not provide protection from tetanus. The bacteria that cause tetanus live in the soil and anyone can be exposed to it. More information: Rokotustieto.fi: Herd immunity

Hib
A vaccine against the diseases caused by Haemophilus influenzae type B bacteria. The diseases include meningitis, epiglottitis, sepsis and pneumonia. Hib is included in the 5-in-1 vaccine for infants. The vaccine is also administered to adults who are immunosuppressed due to having had their spleen removed or receiving stem cell transplants, for example. More information: THL, Immunisation: Hib vaccine (in Finnish)

HPV
Human papillomavirus vaccine. The HPV vaccine prevents papillomavirus infections, thereby preventing cervical cancer, in particular, and its precancerous stages. It also prevents some cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus and penis as well as cancers of the head and neck area. For optimal effectiveness, the vaccine should be administered before the individual becomes sexually active. The vaccine is included in the National Immunisation Programme for children in grade 5 and 6. Vaccinations are also offered to boys in grades 7–9 during the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 school years. More information: THL, Immunisation: HPV vaccine (in Finnish)

HZV
Herpes Zoster Vaccine. Protects against shingles. Not included in the National Immunisation Programme. More information: lääkeinfo.fi (in Finnish)

I

Immunity
The body’s resistance to a given pathogen. A vaccination creates an immune response that leads to immunological memory. If the body is exposed to the same pathogen later, the immune system is activated and can prevent the pathogen’s reproduction. Diseases can also be caused by toxins excreted by bacteria, and vaccines can be used to produce antibodies against these toxins. In these cases, the immune system does not prevent the reproduction of the pathogen, i.e. the bacteria, but it neutralises the toxins and thereby prevents the disease. This is the mechanism of the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines, for example. More information: Duodecim medical reference book: Immunity (in Finnish)

Influenza
A sudden upper respiratory infection caused by seasonal influenza viruses. There are two main types of influenza viruses, A and B. Type A also has subtypes. The seasonal influenza outbreaks that occur in Finland every winter infect 5–15 per cent of the population. The influenza vaccine, which must be administered each year, confers protection against influenza and its sequelae. The vaccine is available free of charge to people in certain groups, such as children under 7 years of age, people aged 65 years and up, pregnant women and those who are in a risk group due to an underlying medical condition. Influenza should not be confused with the common cold. More information: Duodecim medical reference book: Influenza and THL, Traveller’s Health Guide: Seasonal influenza (in Finnish)

IPV
Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine. A vaccine that contains inactivated type 1, 2 and 3 polio viruses. Administered as part of the 4-in-1 and 5-in-1 vaccines (DTaP-IPV and DTaP-IPV-Hib). The single polio vaccine is recommended as a booster for people travelling to countries where polio is endemic. More information: THL, Immunisation: Polio vaccine (in Finnish)

J

JE
Japanese encephalitis is a severe viral infection of the brain that is spread by mosquitoes. The vaccine is recommended for people who will spend extended periods of time in regions where the disease is endemic. The vaccine is administered in two shots usually given one month apart. More information: THL, Traveller's Health Guide: Japanese encephalitis (in Finnish)

L

Lyme disease
An infection caused by the Borrelia bacteria, often recognisable by a round expanding area of redness around the site of a tick bite. Can lead to symptoms such as long-term skin, nerve and joint problems. There is no vaccine against Lyme disease. Should not be confused with tick-borne encephalitis, for which there is the TBE vaccine. More information: THL, Immunisation: Lyme disease (in Finnish)

M

men ACWY
Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine. A vaccine against types A, C, W and Y of the meningococcus bacteria. In the National Immunization Programme the meningococcus vaccination is administered to conscripts and persons who have an increased risk of a serious meningococcal disease due to a basic illness. The vaccine is also recommended for people who travel outside tourist areas, especially those travelling to the meningitis zone from Senegal to Ethiopia in Africa. More information: THL, Traveller's Health Guide: Meningococcal diseases (in Finnish) and THL, Infectious diseases and vaccinations: Meningococcus ACWY vaccine

MMR
Measles, mumps and rubella. Included in the National Immunisation Programme. Boosters are not necessary after two shots or bouts with the MMR diseases. Sometimes referred to as MPR based on the Latin names of the diseases: Morbilli (M), parotitis (P) and rubella (R). More information: THL, Immunisation: MMR vaccine (in Finnish)

O

OPV
Oral Polio Vaccine. Not currently used in Finland. More information: THL, Immunisation: Polio vaccine (in Finnish)

P

PCV
Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine. A vaccine against pneumococcal diseases such as meningitis, sepsis, pneumonia, sinusitis and otitis media in young children. Administered in accordance with the National Immunisation Programme at the ages of three, five and twelve months. Also recommended for people aged 65 and up, and those in risk groups. Indicated for stem cell transplant patients in the National Immunisation Programme. More information: THL, Immunisation: Pneumococcus vaccine (in Finnish)

PPV
Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine. A vaccine against pneumococcal diseases such as meningitis and sepsis. Administered based on individual consideration to people aged 65 and up, and those in risk groups, after the PCV vaccine. More information: THL, Immunisation: Pneumococcus vaccine (in Finnish)

R

ROTA, RV
Rotavirus vaccine. A vaccine against a disease characterised by diarrhoea and vomiting. Administered orally in 3 doses as part of the National Immunisation Programme during the first months of life. More information: THL, Immunisation: Rotavirus vaccine (in Finnish)

T

TBE
A vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis. The TBE vaccine is included in the Finnish National Vaccination Programme for people who live and stay for long periods of time in the risk areas defined annually by the THL. The basic protocol consists of three shots. Boosters at 3-, 5- or 10-year intervals, mainly depending on age. The TBE vaccine does not protect against Lyme disease. More information: THL, Immunisation: TBE vaccine (in Finnish)

Tetanus, T
The tetanus vaccine is included in the National Immunisation Programme and it is first administered as part of the 5-in-1 vaccine. The tetanus immunisation must always be up to date. Booster shots of the tetanus-diphtheria vaccine are given as an adult every 10–20 years, depending on age. More information: THL, Immunisation: dT vaccine (in Finnish)

Types of vaccines
Vaccines are divided into two categories based on the active agent, or antigen. Some vaccines contain live pathogens, others do not. Vaccines that do not contain live pathogens can be divided into three categories:

  1. Inactivated, i.e. killed entire pathogens (e.g. the Hepatitis A vaccine)
  2. Parts of pathogens, pathogen surface proteins and sugars (e.g. HPV, PCV and Hepatitis B vaccines)
  3. Toxoids, i.e. detoxified bacterial toxins (dT vaccine).

Vaccines that contain attenuated live pathogens include the MMR vaccine and the yellow fever vaccine, for example. They cause a reaction that is usually an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic illness that may be accompanied by a low-grade fever. This reaction indicates that the vaccine is working and the body has produced antibodies against the pathogen. Long-term immunity can often be achieved with just one or two doses of the vaccine.

Vaccines that do not contain live pathogens cannot cause the disease itself. Achieving long-term immunity usually takes an initial series of vaccines followed by booster shots. More information: THL, Immunisation: types of vaccines (in Finnish)

V

Vaccination coverage
Indicates the percentage of the target population that has received the vaccination. More information: THL, Immunisation: Vaccination coverage (in Finnish)

Varicella zoster
A virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. There are two vaccines against chickenpox and shingles. They differ from each other in certain respects, such as the amount of the antigen they contain. The chickenpox vaccine is included in the Finnish National Vaccination Programme and the routine immunisation schedule consists of two doses. The shingles vaccine is not included in the Finnish National Vaccination Programme, but the vaccine can be obtained on a prescription from a primary health care unit, such as a health centre or a private medical centre. THL, Infectious diseases: ChickenpoxDuodecim medical reference book: Chickenpox (in Finnish), Duodecim medical reference book: Shingles (in Finnish)

Y

YF
Yellow fever. The yellow fever vaccine is not included in the National Immunisation Programme, but it is recommended for people travelling to areas where yellow fever is endemic. Some countries require an immunisation certificate on arrival. One dose provides protection for at least 10 years. The vaccine must be administered 10 days before arrival in the area where yellow fever is endemic. More information: THL, Traveller's Health Guide: Yellow fever (in Finnish)

3

3-in-1 vaccine = dtap
Diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), acellular pertussis (ap). A vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. The 3-in-1 vaccine is administered as a booster for adolescents aged 14–15 years as part of the National Immunisation Programme. Lower case letters indicate a lower quantity of antigens, while upper case letters indicates a higher quantity. More information: THL, Immunisation: dtap vaccine (in Finnish)

4

4-in-1 vaccine = DTaP-IPV
Diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), acellular pertussis (aP), inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV). A vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio. The 4-in-1 vaccine boosts and extends the protection conferred by the 5-in-1 vaccine received in infancy. Usually administered as part of the routine immunisation schedule for children. Lower case letters indicate a lower quantity of antigens, while upper case letters indicate a higher quantity. More information: THL, Immunisation: dtap vaccine (in Finnish)

5

5-in-1 vaccine = DTaP-IPV-Hib
Diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), acellular pertussis (aP), inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV), Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). The 5-in-1 vaccine is administered in three doses, usually at the ages of three, five and twelve months, but no later than the age of five years. Protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and Hib diseases. The diseases include meningitis, epiglottitis, sepsis and pneumonia. Lower case letters indicate a lower quantity of antigens, while upper case letters indicate a higher quantity. More information: THL, Immunisation: DTaP-IPV-Hib (in Finnish) 

Page published 30.4.2018
Page edited 12.7.2021