Polio vaccine, inactivated

Name: Polio vaccine, inactivated

What is polio vaccine?

Polio affects the central nervous system and spinal cord. It can cause muscle weakness and paralysis. Polio is a life threatening condition because it can paralyze the muscles that help you breathe.

The polio vaccine is used to help prevent these diseases in children and adults.

This vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Polio vaccine is for use in adults and children who are at least 6 weeks old.

Like any vaccine, the polio vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving polio vaccine?

You should not receive this vaccine if:

  • you have moderate or severe illness with a fever;

  • you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing live or inactivated polio virus; or

  • you are allergic to 2-phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, neomycin, streptomycin, or polymyxin B.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

To make sure polio vaccine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or

  • a history of Guillain Barré syndrome (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine).

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this vaccine will harm an unborn baby. However, if you are at a high risk for infection with polio during pregnancy, your doctor should determine whether you need this vaccine.

It is not known whether polio vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure you receive all recommended doses of this vaccine. You may not be fully protected against disease if you do not receive the full series.

Polio vaccine side effects

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with poliovirus is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • extreme drowsiness, fainting;

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions); or

  • high fever (within a few hours or a few days after the vaccine).

Common side effects include:

  • redness, pain, swelling, or a lump where the shot was given;

  • low fever;

  • joint pain, body aches;

  • drowsiness, mild fussiness or crying; or

  • vomiting.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Poliomyelitis Prophylaxis

6 weeks and older:

Primary vaccination series:
Four 0.5 mL doses, intramuscularly or subcutaneously, at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years

Previously vaccinated children (incomplete polio vaccination):
Give sufficient additional doses to complete the primary series
-There is no need to start the series over again, regardless of time elapsed between doses

-Do not give more frequently than 4 weeks apart.
-Longer time intervals between doses than those recommended above do not require additional doses, as long as a total of four doses is reached.


Safety and efficacy have not been established in patients younger than 6 weeks.

To report suspected adverse reactions, contact the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at: https://vaers.hhs.gov

Consult WARNINGS section for additional precautions.