Most people who get the polio vaccine develop no side effects. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, can cause side effects. Most side effects are minor, meaning that the symptoms improve on their own or are easily treated by the healthcare provider. In rare cases, side effects can be more serious. In rare cases, they can cause severe harm or death. However, getting a polio vaccine is much safer than getting polio.
The polio vaccine is not appropriate for everyone (see Polio Vaccine Precautions to learn about groups of people who should wait or not receive the vaccine.)
Why Is the Polio Vaccine Still Required?
No wild polio has been reported in the United States for more than 20 years. However, the disease is still common in some parts of the world. It would only take one case of polio from another country to bring the disease back if we were not protected by polio vaccine. If the effort to eliminate the disease from the world is successful, some day we won't need a vaccine. Until then, we need to keep getting our children vaccinated.
Polio Vaccine Products
The inactivated polio vaccine is available by itself or in combination with other routine childhood vaccines. Inactivated polio vaccines include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: polio vaccine (1/31/00). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-IPV.pdf. Accessed August 25, 2009.
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