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Vaccine for Polio


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Polio or poliomyelitis is a major disease that can lead to loss of movement or complete paralysis. Poliovirus enters through the mouth and the infection spreads to the throat and the intestine.

It usually affects children below 5 years of age. Permanent disability can occur when the virus starts damaging the nerves.


Why is polio vaccine needed?

Polio vaccine is an immunity measure against polio. It all started in the year 1955 after infamous polio epidemic in the US. Although polio has been eradicated completely in the US, it’s still occurs in developing and underdeveloped countries. 

The virus is contagious and is transmitted usually from faeces and unhygienic conditions. The vaccine is given to every child in an attempt to eradicate the disease completely. 


What are the different types of polio vaccines?

Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV): It is prepared with inactivated (dead) form of the virus incapable of causing polio. The vaccine induces antibodies in the bloodstream and prevents paralysis. The injection is given in the arm or leg. 

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV): Three different serotypes of polio virus were used to prepare the vaccine. This form is also known as “live attenuated virus” was meant to be swallowed by the child. The virus triggered an immune response but didn’t cause the disease. Children who were vaccinated before the year 2000 received oral dose.

The disadvantage of OPV was – some cases of polio and paralysis was reported from the virus used in the vaccine.

So here we shall consider IPV form of the vaccine which is currently been used.


Who needs polio vaccine?

It is mandatory for children.

Following groups of people also need polio vaccine if they haven’t received in childhood: 

  • Adults who travel frequently to different parts of the world, especially where polio is still prevalent
  • People working in healthcare sectors (especially attending polio patients) laboratory and public places


What is the dose of polio vaccine?

Four doses of IPV vaccine are given to children in a successive pattern. 

  • Fist dose at 2 months
  • Second dose at 4 months
  • Third dose at 6-18 months
  • A booster dose at 4-6 year

Adults who belong to high risk groups as explained above need to vaccinated with IPV in the following pattern 

  • First dose anytime
  • Second dose after 1-2 months of the first
  • Third dose 6-12 months after the second 
Even if you missed a dose in the stipulated time, you can have it later. But make sure to complete the dose.


Who cannot have polio vaccine?

Polio vaccine is not given to the following group of people: 

  • Any individual who had developed sever allergy to prior shots of polio vaccine
  • Those who are allergic to antibiotics like neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxin B
You must let your doctor know if you had previous incidence of any such medical condition.


Are there any risks associated with polio vaccine?

Children or adults might get a sore spot, i.e. swelling and redness on the site of injection. Slight fever can be felt.

There are no serious health complications with IPV polio vaccine.

Report to your doctor immediately if you notice allergic symptoms.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: February 28, 2014