URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601177.html

Polio Vaccine

Why get vaccinated?

Vaccination can protect people from polio. Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It is spread mainly by person-to-person contact. It can also be spread by consuming food or drinks that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person.

Most people infected with polio have no symptoms, and many recover without complications. But sometimes people who get polio develop paralysis (cannot move their arms or legs). Polio can result in permanent disability. Polio can also cause death, usually by paralyzing the muscles used for breathing.

Polio used to be very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people every year before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. There is no cure for polio infection, but it can be prevented by vaccination.

Polio has been eliminated from the United States. But it still occurs in other parts of the world. It would only take one person infected with polio coming from another country to bring the disease back here if we were not protected by vaccination. If the effort to eliminate the disease from the world is successful, some day we won't need polio vaccine. Until then, we need to keep getting our children vaccinated.

Who should get polio vaccine and when?

Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) can prevent polio.

Children:

Most people should get IPV when they are children. Doses of IPV are usually given at 2, 4, 6 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years of age.

The schedule might be different for some children (including those traveling to certain countries and those who receive IPV as part of a combination vaccine). Your healthcare provider can give you more information.

Adults:

Most adults do not need polio vaccine because they were vaccinated as children. But some adults are at higher risk and should consider polio vaccination including:

  • people traveling to areas of the world,
  • laboratory workers who might handle polio virus, and
  • healthcare workers treating patients who could have polio.

These higher-risk adults may need 1 to 3 doses of IPV, depending on how many doses they have had in the past.

There are no known risks to getting IPV at the same time as other vaccines.

Who should not get IPV or should wait?

Tell the person who is giving the vaccine:

  • If the person getting the vaccine has any severe, life-threatening allergies.If you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of IPV, or have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, you may be advised not to get vaccinated. Ask your healthcare provider if you want information about vaccine components.
  • If the person getting the vaccine is not feeling well. If you have a mild illness, such as a cold, you can probably get the vaccine today. If you are moderately or severely ill you should probably wait until you recover. Your doctor can advise you.

What are the risks from IPV?

As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.

The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/

Other problems that could happen after this vaccine:

  • People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy, or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
  • Some people get shoulder pain that can be more severe and longer-lasting than the more routine soreness that can follow injections. This happens very rarely.
  • Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.

With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible.

Some people who get IPV get a sore spot where the shot was given. IPV has not been known to cause serious problems, and most people don't have any problems at all with it.

What if there is a moderate or severe problem?

What should I look for?

  • Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe allergic reaction, a very high fever, or unusual behavior.Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.

What should I do?

  • If you think it is a severe allergic reaction or other emergency that can't wait, call 9-1-1 or get to the nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your clinic.Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor should file this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS web site at www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

VAERS does not provide medical advice.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.

Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.

How can I learn more?

  • Ask your healthcare provider. He or she can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
  • Call your local or state health department.
  • Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): call 1-800-232-4636 ( 1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines

Polio Vaccine Information Statement. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Immunization Program. 7/20/2016.

Brand names

  • IPOL®
  • Orimune® Trivalent

Brand names of combination products

  • Kinrix® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Polio Vaccine)
  • Pediarix® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio Vaccine)
  • Pentacel® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Polio Vaccine)
  • Quadracel® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Polio Vaccine)

Other names

  • DTaP-HepB-IPV
  • DTaP-IPV
  • DTaP-IPV/Hib
  • IPV
  • OPV
Last Revised - 02/15/2017