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Vaccine Abbreviations

Medical Abbreviations and Acronyms

By

Updated April 17, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Vaccine records can sometimes be hard to figure out when they use abbreviations or acronyms for common vaccine names.

While some, like DTaP, are usually easy to figure out, others can be confusing.

Will anyone ever get used to using LAIV as a routine abbreviation for a flu vaccine?

Understanding common vaccine abbreviations can help make sure your child's immunizations are up-to-date and that you won't have any problems reading his vaccine records.

Vaccine List

A list of common pediatric vaccines that you might see on your child's immunization record could include:

  • DTaP - diphteria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine
  • DTP - diphteria, tetanus, and whole-cell pertussis vaccine (replaced by DTaP)
  • DT - pediatric diphteria and tetanus vaccine (for kids too young to get a Td)
  • HepA - hepatitis A vaccine (Havrix and Vaqta)
  • HepB - hepatitis B vaccine
  • Hib - Haemophilus influenzae type B conjugate vaccine
  • HPV - human papillomavirus vaccine
  • HPV2 - bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix)
  • HPV4 - quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil)
  • IPV - inactivated poliovirus vaccine
  • LAIV - live, attenuated influenza vaccine (FluMist)
  • MMR - measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine
  • MMRV - measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella vaccine (ProQuad)
  • MCV4 - quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine (Menactra and Menveo)
  • MPSV4 - meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Menomune)
  • OPV - oral polio vaccine
  • PCV - pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar)
  • PCV7 - 7 valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar 7)
  • PCV13 - 13 valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar 13)
  • PPSV23 - pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax 23)
  • Rota - rotavirus vaccine
  • RV - rotavirus vaccine
  • RV1 - monovalent rotavirus vaccine (Rotarix)
  • RV5 - pentavalent rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq)
  • TIV - trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (a flu shot)
  • Tdap - tetanus, diphtheria toxoids, and acellular pertussis vaccine (Boostrix and Adacel)
  • Td - tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (tetanus booster shot)
  • VAR - varicella (chicken pox) vaccine (Varivax)

Other Vaccine Abbreviations

The site where a vaccine is given to a child is often abbreviated.

Common sites can include either a child's:

  • RA (right arm)
  • LA (left arm)
  • RT (right thigh)
  • LT (left thigh)

A vaccine might also be given orally (po) or intranasally (IN).

You will likely see the medical abbreviations IM (intramuscular) and SC (subcutaneous) to indicate other ways that the vaccine might have been administered.

Sources:

CDC. General Recommendations on Immunization. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). January 28, 2011 / 60(RR02);1-60

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