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Polio Vaccine Side Effects

Some of the common side effects that have been reported with the polio vaccine include tiredness, tenderness at the injection site, and irritability. When serious side effects do occur, they can include trouble breathing, hoarseness, and wheezing. However, most side effects are minor, meaning that the symptoms improve on their own or are easily treated by the healthcare provider.

An Overview of Polio Vaccine Side Effects

Most people who get the polio vaccine do not develop side effects. However, a vaccine, like any medicine, can cause side effects. Most polio vaccine side effects are minor, meaning that the symptoms improve on their own or are easily treated by the healthcare provider.
In rare cases, polio vaccine side effects can be more serious. Very rarely, they can cause severe harm or death. It is important to note, however, that getting the polio vaccine is much safer than getting polio.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects of the polio vaccine. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of the Polio Vaccine

The most common minor side effects from a polio vaccination include:
  • Irritability -- in up to 64.5 percent of people
  • Tiredness -- up to 60.7 percent
  • Tenderness at the injection site -- up to 29.4 percent
  • Loss of appetite -- up to 16.6 percent
  • Vomiting -- up to 2.8 percent
  • Persistent crying -- up to 1.4 percent
  • Redness at the injection site -- up to 1 percent.

Serious Side Effects

Severe side effects occur very rarely with the polio vaccine (in less than one out of a million doses). One serious problem that can occur is a serious allergic reaction. Symptoms that may indicate an allergic reaction (or some other serious problem) include:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Pale skin
  • Weakness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • High fever
  • Behavior changes.
These serious side effects can happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot, but they can also occur one or two weeks later. If any of these serious problems do occur, call a doctor or get the person to a doctor right away. Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the polio vaccine was given.
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Polio Vaccines

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