View Printer Friendly PDF Printer Friendly PDF

Facts About...

(Inactivated Polio Vaccine, IPV)

What is it?

Inactivated polio vaccine protects children and adults against polio. It is usually combined in other vaccines but can be given on its own when a person is not fully immunized against polio.

How effective is the polio vaccine?

When polio vaccine is given as recommended, it protects 99% of people against polio.

Who should receive the vaccine?

Polio vaccine is given to people who are up to date for their tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations but are in need of vaccination against polio. This vaccine is not given to adults routinely. Only adults who are likely to come in contact with the polio virus may need to receive a booster dose of polio vaccine.

This includes:

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers can receive polio vaccine without safety concerns, but the positive and negative risks of vaccination should be discussed with a doctor.

Persons with immune system problems should also discuss the benefits and potential risks of polio vaccine with a doctor before vaccination.

What is the schedule for the vaccine?

Children under 7 years of age need at least 4 doses of polio vaccine, usually given at 2, 4 and 18 months, and 4-6 years. Polio vaccine is usually combined with other childhood vaccines (e.g., diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine). If given alone, polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other routine vaccine(s) but at a different site with a different syringe.

For children aged 7 and older and adults who have not been vaccinated against polio before, 3 doses of polio vaccine is required. The first 2 doses should be given 1-2 months apart and the third dose 6-12 months later. Polio vaccine may also be given as a booster dose for children over 7 years of age and adults who are not fully immunized or for travel or work reasons.

When traveling to a developing country where polio may exist, discuss with your doctor if you should have a polio booster.

Are there side effects with the vaccine?

The most common reported side effects are:

Side effects usually go away on their own in 1-2 days. A cold, wet compress applied to the injection site and/or acetaminophen can be used to help relieve pain, swelling, and/or mild fever after vaccination.

Severe allergic reactions after vaccination are rare and may not be caused by the vaccine. However, if you think a serious reaction is developing, seek medical attention right away. Any unusual or significant changes in your health or your child’s health after the immunization should be reported to a health care provider and the Health Department.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

For more information on contents of vaccine refer to the Canadian Immunization Guide Evergreen edition

Don’t forget to update your record of protection

After you or your child receives a vaccination, update your yellow vaccination record. For children in school or daycare, please call the Health Department to update your child’s immunization records. Keep your records in a safe place!

December 2015