Name: OPV

Why get vaccinated?

Vaccination can protect people from polio. Polio is a disease caused by a virus. It is spread mainly by person-to-person contact. It can also be spread by consuming food or drinks that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person.

Most people infected with polio have no symptoms, and many recover without complications. But sometimes people who get polio develop paralysis (cannot move their arms or legs). Polio can result in permanent disability. Polio can also cause death, usually by paralyzing the muscles used for breathing.

Polio used to be very common in the United States. It paralyzed and killed thousands of people every year before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. There is no cure for polio infection, but it can be prevented by vaccination.

Polio has been eliminated from the United States. But it still occurs in other parts of the world. It would only take one person infected with polio coming from another country to bring the disease back here if we were not protected by vaccination. If the effort to eliminate the disease from the world is successful, some day we won't need polio vaccine. Until then, we need to keep getting our children vaccinated.

Who should get polio vaccine and when?

Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) can prevent polio.


Most people should get IPV when they are children. Doses of IPV are usually given at 2, 4, 6 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years of age.

The schedule might be different for some children (including those traveling to certain countries and those who receive IPV as part of a combination vaccine). Your healthcare provider can give you more information.


Most adults do not need polio vaccine because they were vaccinated as children. But some adults are at higher risk and should consider polio vaccination including:

  • people traveling to areas of the world,
  • laboratory workers who might handle polio virus, and
  • healthcare workers treating patients who could have polio.

These higher-risk adults may need 1 to 3 doses of IPV, depending on how many doses they have had in the past.

There are no known risks to getting IPV at the same time as other vaccines.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.

Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.

Dosing & Uses

Poliovirus Prevention

0.5 mL PO; 2 doses > 6 weeks apart or <8 weeks apart followed by third dose 6-12 months later

Additional Information

Up-to-date vaccination schedules available at www.cdc.gov/nip/publications

Other Indications & Uses

Now recommended only during polio outbreaks, travel to endemic areas, or if pt refuses injectable form

Poliovirus Prevention

Infants: 0.5 mL; at 2, 4, and 15-18 months old; fourth dose given when child begins school

Childresn and adolescents: 0.5 mL PO; 2 doses > 6 weeks apart or <8 weeks apart followed by third dose 6-12 months later

Adverse Effects

Suspected adverse events after administration of any vaccine may be reported to Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), 1-800-822-7967

Postmarketing Reports





Vaccine-associated paralysis in 1 of 2.6 million doses

Allergy to neomycin or streptomycin


Guillain-Barre syndrome


These products convey active immunity via stimulation of production of endogenously produced antibodies

The onset of protection from disease is relatively slow, but duration is long lasting (years)

Duration: Unknown

Mechanism of Action

Induction of active immunization against poliovirus type 1 by live attenuated poliomyelitis virus Sabin strain type 1

Attenuated, live virus multiplies in intestine & spreads to others in household to immunize