Difference Between Active and Passive Immunity (With Table)

When our immune system, or immunity, detects an illness, it responds appropriately to deal with the problem. Infections and disorders can emerge if the immune system isn’t working as it should. Issues such as allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases arise when the immune system is overstimulated without a genuine threat or not correctly deactivated after the danger has passed. Two sorts of immune systems are encountered: active and passive.

Active Immunity vs Passive Immunity

The main difference between active immunity and passive immunity is that active immunity has developed in an individual’s body as a response to infections or with the help of vaccinations. On the other hand, it can generate passive immunity by transmitting antibodies from one person to another via the placenta, breast milk, and injection.

The term “active immunity” describes the body’s early reaction to an infection at its most basic level. A foreign antigen can also activate it, such as one found in microorganisms. It can also relate to a person’s adaptive response after exposure to a specific virus or antigen. It takes time for this form of immunity to develop.

The term “passive immunity” refers to a person’s ability to pass on their immune system to another person. Someone who has received a lot of immunizations may be able to pass it on to them. As a result, it takes effect quickly and without any delay. Furthermore, it is only a short-term solution. So it may only be effective for a few months.

Comparison Table Between Active and Passive Immunity

Parameters of ComparisonActive ImmunityPassive Immunity
Immunological Memory Researchers have discovered immunological memory.No immunological memory can be found in this organism.
Antibodies Produced by the human bodyAn external agent brought it about.
Natural Acquirement InfectionsBreast milk is delivered to the baby through the placenta.
Artificial Acquirement VaccinationsInjections are used to administer antibodies to patients.
Immunity Type Virus-mediated and cell-mediatedImmunity is obtained through the use of pre-made antibodies.
Suitability It is not recommended for persons who are immunocompromised.Immunocompromised individuals can use it.
Secondary Response A secondary response that is both faster and stronger.There is no secondary response.

What is Active Immunity?

The term “active immunity” refers to immunity that develops in response to infection with a disease. Immunity does not develop immediately after being exposed to a virus, as many believe, and active immunity may take many days or weeks to build following the first interaction.

A type of white blood cell known as B cells is activated when the body is exposed to an unknown disease agent. These B cells create antibodies that assist in either destroying or neutralizing the pathogen. Immunity to a particular disease agent is provided by an antibody specific to the disease in question, and the immune system produces antibodies.

Furthermore, the protection it gives is quite long-lasting, as previously said. Protective reactions take longer to develop because of lag time. Recurrence of the illness or revaccination, on the other hand, can bring it back to life.

Consequently, it could take many days or weeks for symptoms to appear following the initial exposure. However, once it has developed, the protection it gives can persist for a very long time indeed. Furthermore, it can manifest itself in one of two ways: either organically or due to immunization. Immunity develops due to the body’s production of antibodies to disease. Because of this, our bodies immune systems are better able to identify and combat disease

What is Passive Immunity?

Antibodies are produced in the absence of immune cells to achieve passive immunity. Furthermore, there are no antibodies against the virus because it spreads directly, and it is also impossible to generate memory immune cells.

It must be administered frequently to provide ongoing protection. After that, it is beneficial in treating an immune deficiency, immunodeficiency, and severe combined immunodeficiency.

Besides that, it is a very effective method of imparting resistance without waiting for the development of an active immune response. No prior exposure to a disease agent is required for this method.

In the case of receiving antibodies from outside sources, it is considered a type of immunity that is conferred upon the recipient. It provides short-term protection but not the long-term security that active immunity offers.

In various ways, one can obtain passive immunity that will help them save their lives. Antibodies are not changed as frequently as they would be if the immune system were functioning normally and regularly; therefore, passive immunity is only effective for a limited period. It is possible to acquire passive immunity through a variety of means, including the transfer of maternal antibodies occurs through the placenta and circulatory system throughout pregnancy and breast milk following childbirth.

Main Differences Between Active and Passive Immunity

  1. Activated immunity provides long-term protection for your body, while passive immunity provides short-term protection.
  2. Although active immunity responds more quickly than passive immunity, the response time of functional immunity is significantly slower.
  3. Active immunity can be acquired through exposure to pathogens in the natural environment or vaccines in the laboratory environment. In both natural and artificial ways, the administration of antibodies can provide passive immunity.
  4. Humoral and cell-mediated immunity is active immunity, whereas passive immunity is immunity obtained via the use of pre-made antibodies is the opposite of active immunity.
  5. For persons who are immunocompromised or immunodeficient, active immunity is not recommended; however, passive immunity is recommended.
  6. It is more common for active immunity to produce a more rapid and potent secondary reaction. In contrast, passive immunity does not have a secondary response and must be re-administered.
  7. Antigen-presenting cells, B and T cells, and other components of active immunity are all present. The absence of immunological cells is a characteristic of passive immunity.
  8. Unlike passive immunity, which does not require any time to develop, active immunity does require some time to develop.
  9. There are rarely any negative effects associated with active immunity. Some adverse effects or reactions to passive immunity may occur.


Our immune system protects us from foreign chemicals, which comprise antibodies. Both active immunity and passive immunity are critical types of immunity in a person’s life, and both are vital types of immunity.

The term “active immunity” refers to the situation in which our immune system is responsible for protecting us against a virus. Having passive immunity refers to the fact that we are protected from a virus by the exemption of another individual.


  1. https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article-abstract/57/8/552/1474357
  2. https://europepmc.org/article/med/2685909