Polio Vaccine

What You Need to Know

Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestinal tract. It is most often spread through person-to-person contact with the stool of an infected person and may also be spread through oral/nasal secretions.. It can also be spread by consuming food or drinks that are contaminated with the feces of an infected person.

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

Why you should vaccinate your childgirl getting shot-956825-edited.jpg 

Polio used to be very common in the United States and caused severe illness in thousands of people each year before polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. Most people infected with the virus have no symptoms; however, for the less than 1% who develop paralysis, it may result in permanent disability and even death.

There are two types of vaccine that protect against polio: inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV). IPV is given as an injection in the leg or arm, depending on the patient's age. The vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. 

Who Should Get the Polio Vaccine?

Children in the United States should get inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to protect against polio, or poliomyelitis.

They should get four doses total, with one dose at each of the following ages:

  • 2 months old
  • 4 months old
  • 6 through 18 months old
  • 4 through 6 years old

Children who will be traveling to a country where the risk of getting polio is greater should complete the series before leaving for their trip. If a child cannot complete the routine series before leaving, an accelerated schedule is recommended as follows:

  • 1 dose at age 6 weeks or older
  • a second dose 4 or more weeks after the first    dose
  • a third dose 4 or more weeks after the second  dose
  • a fourth dose 6 or more months after the third  dose

If the accelerated schedule cannot be completed before leaving, the remaining doses should be given in the affected country, or upon returning home, at the intervals recommended in the accelerated schedule.

In addition, children completing the accelerated schedule should still receive a dose of IPV at 4 years old or older, as long as it has been at least 6 months after the last dose.

Rainbow Pediatrics strives to provide our patients with the best and most comprehensive pediatric care possible from birth through college. 

From preventative visits to unique health challenges, Rainbow's pediatricians are prepared to treat your child with the friendly, expert care you want and deserve.

We strive to be the community leader in pediatric health each day by delivering a level of care that's second-to-none in Central Ohio. That's why families trust our experienced team to care for their loved ones from infancy to early adulthood.