Polio Home > Inactivated Polio Vaccine

The inactivated polio vaccine contains no live poliovirus. It was licensed in 1955 and was used extensively until the early 1960s. Although the oral polio vaccine became the vaccination of choice after being introduced, an enhanced-potency version of the inactive vaccine was introduced in 1998 and has been preferred ever since. The inactive vaccine is given as a shot in the arm or leg, depending on the person's age.

What Is Inactivated Polio Vaccine?

Polio vaccination is a medicine that is given for the prevention of polio. There are two general types of polio vaccination. One type is an inactivated polio vaccination (IPV), meaning that the vaccination contains no live poliovirus. The other type is a live oral polio vaccination, which contains live but weakened poliovirus.
(Click Vaccine-Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis for more information about oral polio vaccination and its risks. Click Polio Prevention for more information about preventing polio.)

History of Polio and the Polio Vaccination

A 1916 polio epidemic in the United States killed 6,000 people and paralyzed 27,000 more. In the early 1950s, there were more than 20,000 cases of polio each year. Polio vaccination began in 1955. By 1960, the number of polio disease cases had dropped to about 3,000.
The last cases of paralytic poliomyelitis caused by endemic polio transmission of wild virus in the United States were in 1979, when an outbreak occurred among the Amish in several Midwestern states. The success of the polio vaccination in the United States and other countries sparked a worldwide effort to eliminate polio.
The inactivated polio vaccination was licensed in 1955 and was used extensively from that time until the early 1960s. In 1961, the oral polio vaccination was licensed. Oral polio vaccination was the vaccination of choice in the United States and most other countries of the world after its introduction. However, oral polio vaccination can cause a rare but serious reaction called vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis.
When an enhanced-potency inactivated polio vaccination became available in 1998, it was recommended that the oral polio vaccination not be used. In 2000, the use of oral polio vaccination in the Unites States was discontinued.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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