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Inactivated Polio Vaccine for Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What is the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)?

The IPV is an injection given to help prevent polio. Polio is a disease caused by a virus. The virus damages the brain and spinal cord. This can lead to paralysis or death. The virus is usually spread through direct contact.

Should I get the IPV?

Adults who are at high risk need the IPV, such as people traveling to areas where polio is common. Other people at risk are lab workers and healthcare providers who could come into contact with the polio virus. The following are reasons you may receive the IPV:

  • You never received the polio vaccine. If you have not received any polio vaccine, you should be given 3 doses as follows:
    • The first dose at any time
    • The second dose 1 to 2 months later
    • The third dose 6 to 12 months after the second dose
  • Your polio immunization is not complete. It is not complete if only 1 or 2 doses of polio vaccine were received. The rest of the recommended doses should be given. The schedule is continued from the last dose no matter how long ago it was received.
  • You need a booster shot. A booster may be given if you received at least 3 doses of the polio vaccine.

What are reasons I should not get the IPV?

  • You had an allergic reaction to a dose of the vaccine.
  • You have an allergy to latex or certain antibiotics, such as neomycin, streptomycin, or polymyxin B.

What are reasons I should wait to get the IPV?

  • You are sick or have a fever. Wait until you are feeling better or the fever is gone.
  • You are a pregnant woman. You may need to wait until after you give birth.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • Your mouth and throat are swollen.
  • You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain.
  • Your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
  • You feel like you are going to faint.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your face is red or swollen.
  • You have hives that spread over your body.
  • You feel weak or dizzy.
  • You have severe shoulder pain.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You have a high fever.
  • You have increased pain, redness, or swelling around the area where the shot was given.
  • You have questions or concerns about the IPV.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.