POLIO

Polio Vaccine

Polio is a viral disease that enters the body through the mouth. Normally, the polio virus does not cause serious illness; however in some cases it may cause paralysis and/or meningitis. Death may result in cases where paralysis occurs in muscles that aid in the respiratory processes. Before the vaccine, polio was very common in the United States, killing thousands of people a year. Today, polio has been eliminated from the United States. However, polio is still prevalent in other countries around the world, making the vaccine a necessity.

Who should get vaccinated?

Children should receive 4 doses of the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) at the following ages:

  • 2 months 

  • 4 months

  • 6-18 months

  • 4-6 years

Vaccines that combine several different shots may contain IPV, in which case children may receive more than the 4 recommended doses, however, this does not pose a threat to the child.

People who do not need the polio vaccine include:

  • Children or adults with a life-threatening allergy to any component of IPV

  • Anyone who has experiences a severe allergic reaction to a previous polio shot should not get another one

  • Adults 18 years or older who were vaccinated as a child

Adults who should receive the IPV include:

  • People who have never been vaccinated against polio should receive 3 doses of IPV (2 doses 1-2 months apart and the 3rd 6-12 months after receiving the 2nd) 

  • People who travel to areas of the world where polio is common  

  • Laboratory workers who may handle poliovirus  

  • Health care workers treating patients who could have polio

For more information on Polio vaccination call your local or state health department’s immunization program or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by calling 1-800-232-4636 or by visiting www.cdc.gov/vaccines.

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