Difference Between Antibiotics and Vaccines

Antibiotics and Vaccine both work simultaneously to cure diseases in Medical procedures. The production of Antibiotics and Vaccines is microbial processing and it is beneficial in medical development.

Antibiotics vs Vaccines

The main difference between Antibiotics and Vaccine is that both concoctions of health care which kills virus and bacteria but they have different approaches for fighting virus and bacteria. Vaccines are given to prevent the disease beforehand, whereas antibiotics are given only when someone is suffering from the disease.

Antibiotics vs Vaccines

The medicines which help in curing the infections caused by any bacteria are known antibiotics. Their role in living bodies is to stop the spreading of the infection.

Vaccines help the immune system to create specialized, Y-shaped proteins called antibodies which build immunity in the body to fight the virus.

Comparison Table Between Antibiotics and Vaccines

Parameters of ComparisonAntibiotics Vaccine
Definition/ Function
Antibiotics cure diseases or infections caused by any bacteria. Their role is to stop the spreading of the infection furthermore.

The Biological substance which works in the immune system against a or virus is known as Vaccine.
There are 2 types of antibiotics based on the action of antibiotics- bacteriostatic and bactericidal.

There are 5 types of vaccines- Vaccines made from Live viruses, Inactivated toxins, subunit  and conjugate vaccine.
Terminology/ Origin of the Term
The term Antibiotics originates from Greek. ἀντι meaning “anti” and the word bio-tics comes from the word “βίος” meaning life.

The term comes from the Latin word “Vacca” meaning Cow.
The first antibiotic was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928.

The first vaccine was discovered by Edward Jenner in 1796.
Antibiotics are made from natural or synthetic substances.

Vaccines are made from the virus itself it is supposed to fight.

What is Antibiotics?

Antibiotics help in stopping the growth and spreading of bacteria and treats bacterial infections.

The first effective antibiotic was discovered by Alexander Fleming, which was a case of an accident. Fleming has returned from a holiday, after which he noticed that one of his Petri-dish had mold growing.

Based on the action of Antibiotics they can be differentiated into 2 types- bacteriostatic and bactericidal. The work of bacteriostatic antibiotics is to prevent the bacteria from multiplying.

Bactericidal antibiotics target killing on the bacteria altogether. These antibiotics work on inhibiting cell wall synthesis. Bactericidal antibiotics however can kill 99% of the bacteria or even more than that.


What is Vaccine?

The vaccine is a biological compound derived from usually inactivated or the dead virus it is supposed to protect from.

Vaccines increase the immunity of the body when injected, as when the inactivated or dead virus is injected into the body, the immune system kills the virus and develops the strength and power to kill the virus anytime it enters the body.

The inactivated vaccine is made from inactivated virus whose ability to multiply is destroyed and is put into the vaccine so that the immune system can recognize it.

Toxoid Vaccines are made from the toxic substance extracted from the virus which causes the disease so that the immune system can create antibodies to the toxic parts of the virus.

A combination of weak and strong antigens is incorporated into the conjugate vaccine for the immune system to respond to the virus.


Main Differences Between Antibiotics and Vaccine

  1. The main difference between Antibiotics and Vaccines is that antibiotics do not contain the bacteria they are supposed to fight, But in the case of vaccines, they contain the virus in a weaker form.
  2. Some of the examples of antibiotics are – Penicillins, Cephalosporins Tetracyclines, and some of the examples of vaccines.
Difference Between Antibiotics and Vaccines


Both of them may have their own side effects like antibiotics may cause headache, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and for vaccines, the side effects may be like fatigue and body pain or some topical allergic reaction.

Antibiotics are prescribed only when the patient is suffering from a bacterial infection but vaccines are given for future protection from the virus.

Generally, Vaccines are more effective in curing the disease. Almost all bacteria have adapted resistance against their antibiotics, but resistance against vaccines is a very rare occurrence.


  1. https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/CDLI.6.6.832-837.1999
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0032579119473045
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