Poliomyelitis (Polio)

What is it?

Polio is a disease caused by poliovirus, and it can be life-threatening.

Common symptoms of polio include sore throat, fever, stomachache, and tiredness. 

Polio can also cause more serious symptoms such as meningitis and paralysis

Three doses of polio vaccine provide >99% protection against polio.

It is recommended that children get 4 doses of the polio vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years.

Vaccine Options:

Just Polio

Combination Vaccines:

What's the difference between them?

Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) and Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) specifically protects against polio. OPV is not used in the US because it is a live, attenuated vaccine, so there is a very small chance of getting polio from the vaccine. OPV provides better protection than IPV, but polio has been eliminated from the US, so the risk of this side effect of OPV is not worth the benefit of the increased protection. OPV is still used in some countries, because it is cheaper and easier to give the oral version of the vaccine, and it provides better protection. 

Kinrix, Pediarix, Pentacel, Quadracel, and Vaxelis are combination vaccines:

Kinrix and Quadracel also protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)

Pediarix also protects against hepatitis B, and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)

Pentacel also protects against Hib and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)

Vaxelis also protects against Hib, Hepatitis B and diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)

Relevant Terms

  • Attenuated: The pathogen is weakened but not completely inactivated. Attenuated pathogens are too weak to cause disease in almost all people. 

  • Meningitis: inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. 

  • Paralysis: the inability to voluntarily move a muscle