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I know it's grammatically correct to say "They have received the vaccine", but I am not sure if it's also correct to say "They have gotten the vaccine".

"Have gotten" means "have obtained, have become, and have entered". Does "have obtained" work, in the sense of having the vaccine in one's possession?

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  • That would be AmE In Britain, more likely They've had the vaccine. But I'd have thought gotten is colloquial / slangy, so They have would normally be contracted same as in BrE Commented May 16 at 20:15
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    @FumbleFingers No, they have gotten the vaccine is not slangy. We'd say gotten or had the vaccine. The thing is that got can also mean received, bought, purchased, obtained. etc. so it can sound as if they received a package with vaccine doses in it.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 16 at 23:01
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    Does this answer your question? "Gotten" versus "got" Commented May 16 at 23:01
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    British English ... we'd almost certainly contract "They have" to "They've" in speech. "Got" is OK-ish, "gotten" is American, "had" is one possibility and "received" is the verb I'd use.
    – nigel222
    Commented May 17 at 8:46

2 Answers 2

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Yes, "they have gotten the vaccine" is fine in American English.

It's not especially formal, so an official report might prefer "they have received a does of the vaccine" or more simply "they have been vaccinated."

But there's also nothing unusual, or slangy about it. Here are some examples found in the wild:

Yet only about 21% of adults and about 12% of children have gotten the [COVID] vaccine since its update in September, according to the CDC. By comparison, nearly half of adults and kids in the US have gotten a flu vaccine this season.

ABC Chicago (or is it CNN?)

However, uptake of the new shots has been lagging. As of Nov. 17, only 14.8% of adults and 5.4% of children in the U.S. have gotten the updated vaccine, according to the latest CDC data.

... “As we get into the holidays, we need to protect each other, and too few people have gotten the vaccine so far,” CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said on the TODAY show Nov. 21.

Today

“I know there are people who have gotten the vaccine who are probably very concerned. For people who got the vaccine more than a month ago, the risk to them is very low at this time,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.

CNN


Also note that the definition of got that you're using is incomplete. "Got the vaccine" would only in rare contexts mean obtained the vaccine. Much more typically it would mean be dosed with the vaccine.

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  • Right, it is certainly not slang.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 16 at 23:01
  • typo: a dose of the vaccine.
    – TimR
    Commented May 17 at 9:17
  • Also, "We got the vaccine" is quite likely to mean "We have received our shipment of the vaccine" or "We have been approved to receive an allotment of vaccine." For a while it was difficult to find a pharmacy or medical office with stocks of the vaccine. A rare context now, but common back then.
    – TimR
    Commented May 17 at 9:22
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Gotten is grammatically correct in your example context.

Get is one of those words with several potential past participles, which include 'got' & 'gotten'. Both are grammatically correct but you might find one is more commonly used by a particular group of English speakers (e.g. Brits may prefer 'got', 'Americans may prefer 'gotten', Australians seem to like both).

References:

https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/is-the-word-gotten-really-that-rotten/

https://www.etymonline.com/word/got#etymonline_v_33719

https://www.etymonline.com/word/gotten

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  • Thank you all very much!
    – Maurice
    Commented May 23 at 10:00
  • "The past tense is get, though the form gotten is gaining some currency in Australia." Judging by that quote, your first linked source may not be 100% reliable. The form "get" can only ever be present tense, regardless of region. Any location-based usage differences only concern whether the past participle form is the same as or different from the simple past ("got" vs. "gotten"). Aside from that, this is a very nice answer! Commented May 24 at 3:42

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