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The Polio Vaccine Schedule

Inactivated polio vaccine is a shot that is given in the leg or arm, depending on the person's age. It may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Most people should get a polio vaccine when they are children. Children get four doses of polio:
  • A dose at 2 months
  • A dose at 4 months
  • A dose at 6 to 18 months
  • A booster polio shot at 4 to 6 years.
Most adults do not need the polio vaccine because they were vaccinated as children. But, in general, three groups of adults are at higher risk for coming into contact with poliovirus and should consider polio vaccination:
  • People traveling to areas of the world where polio is common
  • Laboratory workers who might handle poliovirus
  • Healthcare workers treating patients who could have polio.
Adults in these three groups, as well as those who have never received the polio vaccine, should get three doses:
  • 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.
An accelerated schedule can be used for unvaccinated children and adults, with four-week intervals between the three doses of the primary series.
Adults who are at high risk of coming in contact with poliovirus and who have received the three-dose primary series should receive a booster dose of polio vaccine. Based on available information, adults do not need more than a single lifetime booster dose.

Expected Results of the Polio Vaccine

The polio vaccine is highly effective in producing immunity to poliovirus and protection from paralytic poliomyelitis. Approximately 90 percent or more of vaccine recipients develop protective antibodies to all three poliovirus types after two doses, and at least 99 percent are immune following three doses.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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