Vaccine

Polio Vaccines

 
What is polio?

Poliomyelitis (polio, for short) is caused by a virus. The virus can be spread by drinking water with the polio virus in it. It can also be passed by close contact, such as kissing an infected person. Polio is a serious illness. It can cause paralysis (when you can't move your arms and legs) or even death. Before the first polio vaccine was developed in the 1950s, thousands of children got polio every year. Fortunately, the use of vaccines has made polio very rare today.The polio vaccine protects children from this now rare but crippling disease. The inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is now recommended for all polio doses.

How can polio be prevented?

You can keep your children from getting polio by making sure they get the polio vaccine.

What is the polio vaccine?

A vaccine is a medicine you take to keep you from getting a disease. The polio vaccine, also called IPV, is given by injection (a "shot"). (It used to be given by drops in the mouth.)

When should my child be vaccinated?

Most children get 4 doses of polio vaccine on this schedule:

  • First dose when they are 2 months old.
  • Second dose when they are 4 months old.
  • Third dose when they are 6 to 18 months old.
  • Last dose when they are 4 to 6 years old.

Are there reasons not to get polio shots?

Your child shouldn't get the IPV shots if he or she is behind on receiving the shots or is allergic to these medicines: neomycin, streptomycin or polymyxin B.

What are the risks of the vaccine?

Vaccines carry a small risk of serious harm, such as a severe allergic reaction. IPV can't cause polio because it does not contain the live polio virus. (This was a small risk with the old oral vaccine.) Most people have no problems.

What if my child has a reaction to the vaccine?

If your child has any reaction after getting the polio vaccine, call your doctor as soon as possible. In addition, if your child gets hives (swelling, itching and a burning sensation of the skin), has problems breathing, or goes into shock (becomes weak, faint, cold, clammy and sweaty), call 911 or take your child to a hospital emergency room. Be sure to tell the doctors caring for your child the day and time your child received the vaccine. Ask your doctor to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Report form with the CDC, or you can do it yourself by calling 800-822-7967.

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