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Polio Vaccine Resource Center

Poliovirus is a member of the enterovirus subgroup, family Picornaviridae. There are three poliovirus serotypes (P1, P2, and P3). Immunity to one serotype does not produce significant immunity to the other serotypes.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.  Poliovirus is spread person-to-person via fecal-oral route, and less frequently, via oral-oral route. The virus enters through the mouth, and primary multiplication of the virus occurs at the site of implantation in the pharynx and gastrointestinal tract. The virus is usually present in the throat and in the stool before the onset of illness. One week after onset, there is less virus in the throat, but virus continues to be excreted in the stool for several weeks. The virus invades local lymphoid tissue, enters the bloodstream, and then may infect cells of the central nervous system. Replication of poliovirus in motor neurons of the anterior horn and brain stem results in cell destruction and causes the typical manifestations of poliomyelitis.

Most people infected with poliovirus are asymptomatic. When symptoms are present, they usually last less than a week and may include influenza-like illness, upper respiratory tract infection, and/or gastrointestinal disturbances.  In a very small proportion of cases in children (<1%), the disease causes paralysis, which can be permanent, and even lead to death.

Persons infected with poliovirus are most infectious from 7 to 10 days before and after the onset of symptoms, but poliovirus may be present in the stool for 3 to 6 weeks after acute infection.  It can be transmitted even if the infected person is asymptomatic.

There is no cure for polio.  Treatment is symptomatic.  Polio can only be prevented by immunization. There are two types of vaccine that can prevent polio: inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV).  Since 2000, in the United States, only Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine Inactivated, trade name, IPOL® has been available. 

IPV is indicated for active immunization of infants, children, and adults for the prevention of poliomyelitis caused by poliovirus serotypes P1, P2, and P3. A primary series of IPV consists of three doses with routine administration recommendations at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6-18 months. A booster dose is recommended between 4-6 years of age.

There are three combination pediatric vaccines that contain inactivated polio vaccine available in the United States – KINRIX, PEDIARIX, and Pentacel®.

Resource Center

You will find below all of the resources you will need about the polio vaccine. More will be added as they are published or released.

Information Paper Date
Poliomyelitis and Poliovirus Vaccine July 10, 2018
Standing Orders Date
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) (Pediatric)
June 2022
Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) (Adult)
June 2022
Vaccine Information Statements (VIS) Date
Polio Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Aug. 6, 2021
Your Child’s First Vaccines: What You Need to Know
Oct. 15, 2021
Manufacturer Package Inserts Date
June 2, 2022
Nov. 23, 2022
April 26, 2023
Oct. 21, 2022
July 21, 2022
April 12, 2023
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommendations Date
Polio Vaccine
Aug. 7, 2009

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Poliomyelitis and Poliovirus Vaccine

Fact Sheet

This information paper describes poliomyelitis and the vaccine to prevent it

Progress Toward Polio Eradication — Worldwide, January 2017–March 2019


Wild poliovirus (WPV) transmission has been interrupted in all but three countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. No WPV cases have been detected in Nigeria since 2016, but WPV transmission has continued in Afghanistan and Pakistan in all previously identified reservoirs.

Notes from the Field: Circulating Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Type 1 and Outbreak Response — Papua New Guinea, 2018


More than two dozen cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus have been confirmed in Papa New Guinea in 2018, 18 years after the country was certified free of indigenous wild poliovirus.

Global Routine Vaccination Coverage — 2017


Global coverage with vaccines to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and measles has remained at 84%–85% since 2010. Prioritizing countries with the highest number of unvaccinated children to implement context-specific strategies has the potential to increase immunization coverage globally.

Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Pakistan, January 2017–September 2018


Pakistan remains one of three countries (along with Afghanistan and Nigeria) where wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) transmission has never been interrupted. Environmental surveillance continues to detect polioviruses, an indication of children who were missed for immunization, as well as poor vaccination program performance.

Update on Vaccine-Derived Polioviruses — Worldwide, January 2017–June 2018


Vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs) can circulate in settings of low population immunity or during outbreaks. After the 2016 synchronized switch from trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) (types 1, 2, and 3) to bivalent OPV (types 1 and 3), new circulating VDPV outbreaks were detected in five countries.

Progress Toward Poliovirus Containment Implementation — Worldwide, 2017–2018


Twenty-nine countries have designated 81 facilities for the retention of needed poliovirus type 2 materials to perform critical national or international functions under certified conditions, including vaccine production, diagnosis, and research. Wild poliovirus type 2 was certified eradicated in 2015.

Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Afghanistan, January 2017–May 2018


The annual number of reported wild poliovirus cases in Afghanistan, one of three countries where transmission continues, has remained steady since 2016. Access to children for immunization campaigns improved during 2017 through early 2018 but worsened in May 2018 in security-challenged areas.

Notes from the Field: Widespread Transmission of Circulating Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Identified by Environmental Surveillance and Immunization Response — Horn of Africa, 2017–2018


A report detailing the surveillance and response to outbreaks of vaccine-derived polio in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia.


  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 7/1/2018
  • Type: Guidelines
  • Topics: Polio

Strategic Response to an Outbreak of Circulating Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Type 2 — Syria, 2017–2018


An outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus in Syria was interrupted by three rounds of monovalent oral poliovirus vaccine campaigns coupled with intensified surveillance.

Surveillance to Track Progress Toward Polio Eradication — Worldwide, 2016–2017


In 2017, 22 wild poliovirus cases were reported from two countries (Afghanistan and Pakistan), the fewest number ever reported globally. Polio cases caused by circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses increased due to outbreaks in Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Outbreaks and Events — Three Provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2017


In 2017 (as of March 8, 2018), 25 cases of vaccine-derived polioviruses (VDPVs) were reported from three provinces. Despite response efforts, transmission of these VDPVs has not yet been interrupted. The emergence of these VDPVs, which cause paralysis similar to wild polioviruses, can occur where population immunity to poliovirus is suboptimal.

Progress Toward Poliomyelitis Eradication — Nigeria, January–December 2017


In August 2015, the World Health Organization removed Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries, but four more cases were reported the following year in part of the country experiencing insurgency. No additional wild poliovirus cases have been reported since September 2016, but surveillance has not been feasible in parts of the country.

Introduction of Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine and Impact on Vaccine-Associated Paralytic Poliomyelitis — Beijing, China, 2014–2016


Two years after introduction of the sequential inactive/oral poliovirus vaccination schedule in Beijing, polio vaccination coverage remained high, no adverse effect on coverage with other vaccines occurred, and no cases of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis have been identified.

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Last Updated: May 23, 2023
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