Vaccine - Polio

This is a vaccine that decreases your child's risk of getting polio, a viral infection that can lead to paralysis.

This is a vaccine that decreases your child's risk of getting polio, a viral infection that can lead to paralysis.

Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly contagious viral infection that can affect the central nervous system and cause a serious crippling disease (paralytic polio). Three out of four people with a polio infection will have no symptoms. (However, they can easily spread the infection.) The others develop paralytic polio with weakness of paralysis in their arms, legs and respiratory muscles. Complications may include:

  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Meningitis
  • Permanent physical disability
  • Recurrent symptoms that can appear years later (post-polio syndrome)
  • Twenty percent of those who develop paralytic polio die

The polio vaccine helps protect your child from this serious infection. Due to the widespread use of the polio vaccine, poliomyelitis is now very rare in the United States.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get their polio vaccine at two months, four months, six to eighteen months and between four to six years of age. You may be required to show proof of polio vaccination before your child can attend school.

  • The polio vaccine is frequently given with the DTaP, pneumococcal and hemophilus influenza vaccines.
  • If your child has a moderate to severe illness, check with your healthcare provider before he or she receives the vaccine.
  • Your child should not receive the vaccine at all if they have an allergy to any of the components of the vaccine or an allergy to certain antibiotics (streptomycin, polymyxin B or neomycin).
  • Polio boosters aren't recommended during childhood, but may be needed for adults who are traveling to an area where poliomyelitis is currently occurring or who may be exposed to the virus at work.

You should contact your healthcare provider if your child is not up to date on the polio vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask about the vaccine.

  • Do you recommend this vaccine for my child, and why?
  • Does this vaccine need boosters, and when?
  • What are the side effects of this vaccine?
  • What are the risks if my child does not get the vaccine?


Also known as:

Vaccine Polio
Vaccine - Polio
Polio Vaccine
Polio Shot
Polio Immunization
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