The polio vaccine 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 the 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, someday we won’t need the polio vaccine. Until then, we need to keep getting our children vaccinated.
Side Effects Of Polio Vaccine
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 polio 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. Polio vaccine has not been known to cause serious problems, and most people don’t have any problems at all with it.
Warnings & Precautions
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.
Polio Vaccine Dosage
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) can prevent polio.
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.
Most adults do not need the 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.
Ask your healthcare provider. He or she can give you the polio vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
Call your local or state health department.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.