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Difference Between Painless & Painful Vaccinations

Vaccination has an important role in keeping a human being free from many serious diseases. Apart from that, vaccination is the key factor that contributes to keeping many deadly diseases at bay, throughout the world.

Administering vaccines can be painless or painful, depending on the type of vaccine and its administration procedure.

What is painless and painful vaccination? The term "painless vaccination" is generally related to DTP vaccine (DTaP), which is a sub-unit type of a vaccine.

Also Read: Vaccination Myths Busted With Their Facts

This contains only a part of the bacteria that cause pertussis. Painful type, DTwP vaccines, has comparatively more side effects due to the presence of an inactivate whole cell component of pertussis. This is the factor that contributes to side effects and pain.

Since majority of the vaccines are designed for babies, pain is a major factor of consideration. But, there are many things to consider before demanding for only painless vaccines. Experts recommend to think beyond just the pain factor while going in for vaccinations.

Certain vaccines like oral vaccines for cholera, typhoid, rotavirus and a nasal spray for influenza are painless, whereas most of the other major vaccines are still given in the conventional way.

Being a parent, making the right choice at the right time is important for best results. It is the same with adult vaccinations as well. Here, we will discuss in detail about the major differences between painless and painful vaccinations.

Vaccine Content

Painless vaccine is the acellular form that contains only a part of the bacteria for sensitising the immune system. At the same time, painful vaccine is the whole cell form. Both of these can be administered as combination vaccine as well.

Side Effects

The main advantage of painless vaccination is that it presents less side effects like high fever and irritability. This in turn keeps the child in a more comfortable condition after administering the vaccination.

Painful Swelling

Redness and swelling at the site of injection is a common drawback of conventional vaccination. Painless vaccination offers an additional benefit of less pain and swelling at the site.


Initial sensitisation to the particular antigen is more effective and better in conventional painful vaccinations, especially in case of DPT. This will provide better antibody production. It is better to consult your doctor to find the best choice that suits your baby before making decisions by yourself.

Also Read: Vaccine For Kids


Painless vaccination can make you immune. But, you can still transmit the diseases to unvaccinated people. Even after getting vaccinated with painless vaccine, the bacteria can enter and live inside the airways of vaccinated persons.

Infant Immunization

Latest researches suggest to avoid using DTaP painless vaccine or its combinations for the primary series of infant immunization. This is due to the difference between painless and painful vaccinations and their actions.


Painless vaccines are more costly when compared to commonly used painful vaccines. This is one of the major differences between painless and painful vaccinations.

Who Should Opt For Painless Vaccines?

It is designed mainly for children who are more at a risk of getting convulsions and problems like incessant crying after painful DTwP vaccination.

Now that you are clear about what painless and painful vaccinations are, make a wise decision for a healthy future.

Read more about: vaccination pian
Story first published: Sunday, July 31, 2016, 14:00 [IST]
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