Evacuation and vaccinations in the news

Summerland beach park. Palm and ocean views.
Photo from the park above the beach in Summerland.

While on vacation, I couldn’t help but hear the words evacuation and vaccinations repeatedly. I thought to myself, evacuation, vacation, vaccination. What do they all have in common? They contain “VAC.” I decided to see if there’s a connection of meaning behind the three words.

From Miriam Webster online:

Definition of evacuation

1: the act or process of evacuating 2: something evacuated or discharged

Definition of vaccine

1: a preparation that is administered (as by injection) to stimulate the body’s immune response against a specific infectious agent or disease: such as a: an antigenic preparation of a typically inactivated or attenuated (see ATTENUATED sense 2) pathogenic agent (such as a bacterium or virus) or one of its components or products (such as a protein or toxin)a trivalent influenza vaccineoral polio vaccineMany vaccines are made from the virus itself, either weakened or killed, which will induce antibodies to bind and kill a live virus. Measles vaccines are just that, weakened (or attenuated) measles viruses.— Ann Finkbeiner et al.… a tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine might be recommended for wound management in a pregnant woman if [greater than or equal to] 5 years have elapsed … .— Mark Sawyer et al.In addition the subunit used in a vaccine must be carefully chosen, because not all components of a pathogen represent beneficial immunological targets.— Thomas J. Matthews and Dani P. Bolognesi b: a preparation of genetic material (such as a strand of synthesized messenger RNA) that is used by the cells of the body to produce an antigenic substance (such as a fragment of virus spike protein)… Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine … works by injecting a small piece of mRNA from the coronavirus that codes for the virus’ spike protein. … mRNA vaccine spurs the body to produce the spike protein internally. That, in turn, triggers an immune response.— Susie Neilson et al.The revolutionary messenger RNA vaccines that are now available have been over a decade in development. … Messenger RNA enters the cell cytoplasm and produces protein from the spike of the Covid-19 virus.— Thomas F. CozzaViral vector vaccines, another recent type of vaccine, are similar to DNA and RNA vaccines, but the virus’s genetic information is housed in an attenuated virus (unrelated to the disease-causing virus) that helps to promote host cell fusion and entry.— Priya Kaur

NOTE: Vaccines may contain adjuvants (such as aluminum hydroxide) designed to enhance the strength and duration of the body’s immune response. 2: a preparation or immunotherapy that is used to stimulate the body’s immune response against noninfectious substances, agents, or diseasesThe U.S. Army is also testing a ricin vaccine and has reported success in mice.— Sue Goetinck Ambrose… many of the most promising new cancer vaccines use dendritic cells to train the immune system to recognize tumor cells.— Patrick Barry

Definition of vacation

 1: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation. I had a restful vacation at the beach 2a: a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee 3: a respite or a time of respite from something INTERMISSION 4: an act or an instance of vacating

This ROOT-WORD is VAC which comes from the Latin vocare which means TO EMPTY. There seems to be a difference between our ideas of VACancy and the continental idea of the same word. To us VACant means EMPTY, exactly as the Latin Root says. To the French and British it means freedom from the job, time off from the job.

After doing more searches online, I’ve discovered that vaccine comes from the Latin vacca, the root word for cow — not vac for empty. Here’s a tidbit of information I found interesting:

In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner infected a young boy with cowpox. Later, when he injected the child with the deadly smallpox virus, he did not get sick. And thus, the first vaccine was born, saving millions of lives and immortalizing cows in public health. (The word vaccine is derived from the Latin word vacca for “cow.”) Or so the legend goes. But the story is probably wrong, according to a report published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. That’s because the vaccine used to prevent smallpox was likely horsepox, not cowpox, researchers say. The latest bit of evidence comes from the historic containers above, which held a smallpox vaccine

Why the word ‘vaccine’ is probably all wrong

In conclusion, the only thing vaccinations and evacuations have in common is the wall to wall coverage in the news. Vacation and evacuation do share the same root word and are all about vacating.

Do you have any thoughts on vaccinations, evacuations or vacation? Two out of three are hot topics. If you want to share your opinions, I’m open to hearing them.