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Polio immunization (vaccine)

Definition

Polio immunization protects against poliomyelitis, a severe disease that leads to the loss of movement.

The vaccine contains an inactive (dead) form of the polio virus. It is called an inactivated polio vaccine, or IPV. It cannot cause polio.

The IPV is available alone, or combined with:

Alternative Names

Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV); Salk vaccine; IPV

Information

Polio vaccination is one of the recommended childhood immunizations and vaccination should begin during infancy. In most parts of the United States, polio immunization is required before a child can start school.

WHO SHOULD RECEIVE THIS VACCINE:

Children should receive four doses of the IPV; one dose each at each of the following ages:

  • 2 months (no earlier than 6 weeks)
  • 4 months
  • 6 - 18 months
  • 4 - 6 years

Children who have received three doses of the IPV before age 4 should receive a fourth dose before or at the time they first start school. The fourth dose is not needed if the third dose is given after age 4.

Adults are not given a booster polio shot unless they are likely to be in places where the disease is known to occur.

The following people should not receive IPV:

  • People who have had severe allergic reactions after receiving this vaccine
  • People who have had severe allergic reactions to the antibiotics streptomycin, polymyxin B, or neomycin

No side effects have been reported in pregnant women who have received the vaccine. However, the vaccine should be avoided during pregnancy, if possible. Pregnant woman who are at increased risk for infection and who need immediate protection should receive an IPV according to the recommended schedule for adults.

IPV can be given safely to the following people:

  • Women who are breastfeeding
  • Children with diarrhea
  • Anyone who:
    • Has minor upper respiratory illness, with or without fever
    • Has had mild to moderate local reactions to a previous dose of vaccine
    • Is taking antimicrobial therapy
    • Is getting better after having an acute illness

People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they have recovered before receiving the vaccine.

BENEFITS

Polio is rare in the United States.

For almost everyone, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks.

SIDE EFFECTS

IPV may cause mild soreness and redness at the site of the injection. This is usually not severe and lasts only a few days. There are usually no other symptoms and no other care is needed after immunization.

CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:

  • You are uncertain whether polio immunization should be given, particularly if there are conditions where immunization may need to be delayed or not given
  • An allergic reaction or other symptoms develop after polio immunization
  • You have other questions or concerns about polio immunization

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended adult immunization schedule—United States, 2012. MMWR 2012;61(4).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years -- United States,2012, MMWR 2012;61(05);1-4.


Review Date: 3/25/2012
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine and David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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Saint Alphonsus Health System  |  1055 North Curtis Road  Boise, ID 83706  |  208-367-2121

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