Polio vaccine

3. Who should get polio vaccine and when?

IPV is a shot, given in the leg or arm, depending on age. Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Children
Most people should get polio vaccine when they are children. Children get 4 doses of IPV, at these ages:

  • A dose at 2 months
  • A dose at 4 months
  • A dose at 6-18 months
  • A booster dose at 4-6 years

Adults
Most adults do not need polio vaccine because they were already vaccinated as children. But three groups of adults are at higher risk and should consider polio vaccination:

  1. people traveling to areas of the world where polio is common,
  2. laboratory workers who might handle polio virus, and
  3. health care workers treating patients who could have polio.

Adults in these three groups who have never been vaccinated against polio should get 3 doses of IPV:

  • The first dose at any time,
  • The second dose 1 to 2 months later,
  • The third dose 6 to 12 months after the second.

Adults in these three groups who have had 1 or 2 doses of polio vaccine in the past should get the remaining 1 or 2 doses. It doesn't matter how long it has been since the earlier dose(s).

Adults in these three groups who have had 3 or more doses of polio vaccine (either IPV or OPV) in the past may get a booster dose of IPV.

Ask your health care provider for more information.

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