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Poliovirus Vaccine (Inactivated)


(POE lee oh VYE rus vak SEEN, in ak ti VAY ted)

Index Terms

  • Enhanced-Potency Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine
  • IPV
  • Salk Vaccine

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Injection, suspension:

IPOL: Type 1 poliovirus 40 D-antigen units, type 2 poliovirus 8 D-antigen units, and type 3 poliovirus 32 D-antigen units per 0.5 mL (0.5 mL, 5 mL) [contains 2-phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, calf serum protein, neomycin (may have trace amounts), streptomycin (may have trace amounts), and polymyxin B (may have trace amounts)]

Brand Names: U.S.

  • IPOL

Pharmacologic Category

  • Vaccine
  • Vaccine, Inactivated (Viral)


As an inactivated virus vaccine, poliovirus vaccine induces active immunity against poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3 infection

Use: Labeled Indications

Poliovirus prevention:

Active immunization of infants (≥6 weeks [US labeling]; ≥2 months [Canadian labeling]), children, adolescents, and adults for prevention of poliomyelitis caused by poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3.

US labeling: Infants (as young as 6 weeks), children, adolescents, and adults

Canadian labeling: Infants (as young as 2 months), children, adolescents, and adults

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends routine vaccination for the following:

• All infants and children (first dose given at 2 months of age) (CDC/ACIP, 58[30] 2009)

Routine immunization of adults in the United States is generally not recommended. Adults with previous wild poliovirus disease, who have never been immunized, or those who are incompletely immunized may receive inactivated poliovirus vaccine if they fall into one of the following categories (CDC/ACIP [Prevots 2000]):

• Travelers to regions or countries where poliomyelitis is endemic or epidemic

• Healthcare workers in close contact with patients who may be excreting poliovirus

• Laboratory workers handling specimens that may contain poliovirus

• Members of communities or specific population groups with diseases caused by wild poliovirus

• Incompletely vaccinated or unvaccinated adults in a household or with other close contact with children receiving oral poliovirus (may be at increased risk of vaccine associated paralytic poliomyelitis)


Hypersensitivity to any component of the vaccine

Dosing: Adult

Immunization: IM, SubQ:

Previously unvaccinated: Administer 0.5 mL per dose for a total of 3 doses given as follows: Two 0.5 mL doses administered at 1- to 2-month intervals, followed by a third dose 6-12 months later. If <3 months, but at least 2 months are available before protection is needed, 3 doses may be administered at least 1 month apart. If administration must be completed within 1 to 2 months, give 2 doses at least 1 month apart. If <1 month is available, give 1 dose.

Incompletely vaccinated: Adults with at least 1 previous dose of OPV, <3 doses of IPV, or a combination of OPV and IPV equaling <3 doses, administer at least one 0.5 mL dose of IPV. Additional doses to complete the series may be given if time permits.

Completely vaccinated and at increased risk of exposure: One 0.5 mL dose

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Immunization: IM, SubQ:

Primary immunization: Infants and Children 6 weeks to 47 months: Administer three 0.5 mL doses, at 2, 4, and 6 to 18 months

Booster dose: Children 4 to 6 years: 0.5 mL as a single dose; Minimum interval between booster and previous dose is 6 months. The final (booster) dose should be given at ≥4 years, regardless of the number of previous doses. If the final dose is not given at 4 to 6 years, it should be given as soon as feasible (CDC/ACIP 2009).

Note: Use of the minimum age and minimum intervals (4 weeks) during the first 6 months of life should only be done when the vaccine recipient is at risk for imminent exposure to circulating poliovirus (shorter intervals and earlier start dates may lead to lower seroconversion) (CDC/ACIP 2009).

Dosing: Renal Impairment

There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer’s labeling.

Dosing: Hepatic Impairment

There are no dosage adjustments provided in the manufacturer’s labeling.


For IM or SubQ administration; do not administer IV. Administer to midlateral aspect of the thigh in infants and small children. Administer in the deltoid area to adults or older children. To prevent syncope related injuries, adolescents and adults should be vaccinated while seated or lying down (NCIRD/ACIP 2011). US law requires that the date of administration, the vaccine manufacturer, lot number of vaccine, and the administering person's name, title, and address be entered into the patient's permanent medical record. Imovax Polio (Canadian product) should be shaken well before use.

For patients at risk of hemorrhage following intramuscular injection, the vaccine should be administered intramuscularly if, in the opinion of the physician familiar with the patient's bleeding risk, the vaccine can be administered by this route with reasonable safety. If the patient receives antihemophilia or other similar therapy, intramuscular vaccination can be scheduled shortly after such therapy is administered. A fine needle (23 gauge or smaller) should be used for the vaccination and firm pressure on the site (without rubbing) for at least 2 minutes. The patient should be instructed concerning the risk of hematoma from the injection. Patients on anticoagulant therapy should be considered to have the same bleeding risks and treated as those with clotting factor disorders (NCIRD/ACIP 2011).


Store under refrigeration 2°C to 8°C (35°F to 46°F); do not freeze. Protect from light

Drug Interactions

Belimumab: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Vaccines (Inactivated). Management: Patients should receive inactivated vaccines prior to initiation of belimumab therapy whenever possible, due to the risk for an impaired response to the vaccine during belimumab therapy. Consider therapy modification

Fingolimod: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Vaccines (Inactivated). Management: Vaccine efficacy may be reduced. Complete all age-appropriate vaccinations at least 2 weeks prior to starting fingolimod. If vaccinated during fingolimod therapy, revaccinate 2 to 3 months after fingolimod discontinuation. Consider therapy modification

Immunosuppressants: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Vaccines (Inactivated). Management: Vaccine efficacy may be reduced. Complete all age-appropriate vaccinations at least 2 weeks prior to starting an immunosuppressant. If vaccinated during immunosuppressant therapy, revaccinate at least 3 months after immunosuppressant discontinuation. Exceptions: Cytarabine (Liposomal). Consider therapy modification

Venetoclax: May diminish the therapeutic effect of Vaccines (Inactivated). Monitor therapy

Test Interactions

May temporarily suppress tuberculin skin test sensitivity (4-6 weeks)

Adverse Reactions

All serious adverse reactions must be reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) 1-800-822-7967 or online at In Canada, adverse reactions may be reported to local provincial/territorial health agencies or to the Vaccine Safety Section at Public Health Agency of Canada (1-866-844-0018).

Percentages noted with concomitant administration of DTP or DTaP vaccine and observed within 48 hours of injection.


Central nervous system: Irritability (7% to 65%; most common in infants 2 months of age), tiredness (4% to 61%)

Gastrointestinal: Anorexia (1% to 17%)

Local: Injection Site: Tenderness (≤29%), swelling (≤11%)

1% to 10%:

Central nervous system: Fever >39°C (≤4%)

Gastrointestinal: Vomiting (1% to 3%)

Local: Injection site: Erythema (≤3%)

Miscellaneous: Persistent crying (≤1% reported within 72 hours)

Postmarketing and/or case reports (Limited to important or life-threatening): Allergic reaction, anaphylactic shock, anaphylaxis, febrile seizures, hypersensitivity reactions, lymphadenopathy, seizures; Guillain-Barré syndrome has been temporally related to another inactivated poliovirus vaccine


Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Anaphylactoid/hypersensitivity reactions: Immediate treatment (including epinephrine 1 mg/mL) for anaphylactoid and/or hypersensitivity reactions should be available during vaccine use (NCIRD/ACIP 2011).

• Syncope: Syncope has been reported with use of injectable vaccines and may result in serious secondary injury (eg, skull fracture, cerebral hemorrhage); typically reported in adolescents and young adults and within 15 minutes after vaccination. Procedures should be in place to avoid injuries from falling and to restore cerebral perfusion if syncope occurs (NCIRD/ACIP 2011).

Disease-related concerns:

• Acute illness: The decision to administer or delay vaccination because of current or recent febrile illness depends on the severity of symptoms and the etiology of the disease. Consider deferring administration in patients with moderate or severe acute illness (with or without fever); vaccination should not be delayed for patients with mild acute illness (with or without fever) (NCIRD/ACIP 2011).

• Polio infection: Patients with prior clinical poliomyelitis or incomplete immunization with oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) may receive inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV).

Concurrent drug therapy issues:

• Immune globulin: Immune response may be decreased in patients receiving immune globulin.

• Vaccines: In order to maximize vaccination rates, the ACIP recommends simultaneous administration of all age-appropriate vaccines (live or inactivated) for which a person is eligible at a single clinic visit, unless contraindications exist. The use of combination vaccines is generally preferred over separate injections, taking into consideration provider assessment, patient preference, and adverse events. When using combination vaccines, the minimum age for administration is the oldest minimum age for any individual component; the minimum interval between dosing is the greatest minimum interval between any individual components. The ACIP prefers each dose of a specific vaccine in a series come from the same manufacturer when possible (NCIRD/ACIP 2011).

Special populations:

• Altered immunocompetence: Use with caution in severely immunocompromised patients; patients with HIV infection, severe combined immunodeficiency, hypogammaglobulinemia, agammaglobulinemia, or altered immunity (due to corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or radiation) may receive inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). In general, household and close contacts of persons with altered immunocompetence may receive all age appropriate vaccines (IDSA [Rubin 2014]; NCIRD/ACIP 2011); inactivated vaccines should be administered ≥2 weeks prior to planned immunosuppression when feasible (IDSA [Rubin 2014]).

• Pediatric: Use of the minimum age and minimum intervals during the first 6 months of life should only be done when the vaccine recipient is at risk for imminent exposure to circulating poliovirus (shorter intervals and earlier start dates may lead to lower seroconversion). Apnea has occurred following intramuscular vaccine administration in premature infants; consider clinical status implications. In general, preterm infants should be vaccinated at the same chronological age as full-term infants (NCIRD/ACIP 2011).

Dosage form specific issues:

• 2-phenoxyethanol: Products may contain 2-phenoxyethanol.

• Calf serum protein: Products may contain calf serum protein.

• Formaldehyde: Products may contain formaldehyde.

• Neomycin: Products may contain neomycin.

• Polymyxin B: Products may contain polymyxin B.

• Streptomycin: Products may contain streptomycin.

Other warnings/precautions:

• Antipyretics: Antipyretics have not been shown to prevent febrile seizures; antipyretics may be used to treat fever or discomfort following vaccination (NCIRD/ACIP 2011). One study reported that routine prophylactic administration of acetaminophen to prevent fever prior to vaccination decreased the immune response of some vaccines; the clinical significance of this reduction in immune response has not been established (Prymula 2009).

• Appropriate use: Specific recommendations for use of this vaccine in immunocompromised patients with asplenia, cancer, HIV infection, cerebrospinal fluid leaks, cochlear implants, hematopoietic stem cell transplant (prior to or after), sickle cell disease, solid organ transplant (prior to or after), or those receiving immunosuppressive therapy for chronic conditions as well as contacts of immunocompromised patients are available from the IDSA (Rubin 2014).

• Effective immunity: Vaccination may not result in effective immunity in all patients. Response depends upon multiple factors (eg, type of vaccine, age of patient) and may be improved by administering the vaccine at the recommended dose, route, and interval. Vaccines may not be effective if administered during periods of altered immune competence (NCIRD/ACIP 2011).

Monitoring Parameters

Monitor for syncope for 15 minutes following administration (NCIRD/ACIP 2011). If seizure-like activity associated with syncope occurs, maintain patient in supine or Trendelenburg position to reestablish adequate cerebral perfusion.

Pregnancy Considerations

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted. Although adverse effects of IPV have not been documented in pregnant women or their fetuses, vaccination of pregnant women should be avoided on theoretical grounds. Pregnant women at increased risk for infection and requiring immediate protection against polio may be administered the vaccine (CDC/ACIP [Prevots 2000]).

Patient Education

• Discuss specific use of vaccine and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)

• Patient may experience injection site pain, edema, or irritation, irritability (children), loss of strength and energy (children), or lack of appetite (children). Have patient report immediately to prescriber confusion, severe dizziness, passing out, vision changes, seizures, burning or numbness feeling, or abnormal movements (HCAHPS).

• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.