Vaccines to Prevent Polio: Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

Poliomyelitis or polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that enters the nervous system. Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract. It is most often spread through person-t

Updated: December 12, 2017

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time. Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Poliomyelitis or polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that enters the nervous system. Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract. It is most often spread through person-to-person contact with the stool of an infected person and may also be spread through oral or nasal secretions such as saliva. It can cause paralysis which can lead to permanent disability and death, when the paralysis strikes the respiratory muscles.
Polio or poliomyelitis can happen at any age. Most of persons infected with polio will have no symptoms.

Some of the minor symptoms are:

  •      Fever
  •      Fatigue
  •      Nausea
  •      Headache
  •      Flu-like symptoms
  •      Stiffness in the neck and back
  •      Pain in the limbs, which often resolves completely
Vaccination can protect people from polio.

Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV):

Children should get IPV in a series of doses which are usually given at the age of 2, 4, 6 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.
The schedule might be different for some children, such as for those traveling to certain countries and those who receive IPV as part of a combination vaccine. Your health care provider can give you more information.
Most adults do not need IPV because they were already vaccinated against polio as children. But some adults are at higher risk and should consider polio vaccination, including:
  •     people traveling to certain parts of the world
  •     laboratory workers who might handle polio virus
  •     health care workers treating patients who could have polio
Depending on how many doses they have had in the past these higher-risk adults may need 1 to 3 doses of IPV. There are no known risks to getting IPV at the same time as other vaccines. There is another vaccine for polio known as OPV (orally Polio vaccine) which can be given orally. These are usually called polio drops.

You should not get this vaccine 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. your health care provider can give you information about vaccine components.
  • you are moderately or severely ill. You should probably wait until you recover. Your doctor can advise you.

Risks of IPV vaccine:

There are chances of side effects which are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare. 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 do not have any problems with it.

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website



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