Tuesday, September 26, 2023

How Does The Polio Vaccine Work

Polio And Polio Vaccine

How Do Vaccines Work?

In this series

Polio , is a serious illness that can be debilitating and life-threatening. There is no cure but thanks to vaccinations, the illness is rare.

All children and adults should be immunised against polio. See your practice nurse if you think that you are not fully vaccinated.

In this article

Now Polio Has Been Detected In The Uk We Run Through Everything You Need To Know About The Deadly Disease

A health worker gives polio vaccine to a child during a door-to-door campaign in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on May 23. EPA

Polio has been eradicated in the UK in recent years after the deadly illness wreaked havoc in the 1950s.

But it has been discovered in several sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works between February and May of this year.

The sewerage plant serves about four million people in north and east London.

So far no cases of polio paralysis have been detected, but what is the disease? And what happened last time there was a polio epidemic in the UK?

What Happens If I Miss A Dose

Contact your doctor if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure you receive all recommended doses of this vaccine. You may not be fully protected against disease if you do not receive the full series.

Read Also: Can I Get Tdap At Cvs

Allergic Reaction To The Vaccine

Inactivated polio vaccine can cause an allergic reaction in a few people since the vaccine contains trace amounts of antibiotics, streptomycin, polymyxin B, and neomycin. It should not be given to anyone who has an allergic reaction to these medicines. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, which usually appear within minutes or a few hours after receiving the injected vaccine, include breathing difficulties, weakness, hoarseness or wheezing, heart rate fluctuations, skin rash and dizziness.

Temporary Precautions For Travellers


As the result of an increase in worldwide cases of polio in early 2014, the WHO issued temporary additional travel recommendations for people visiting countries where polio is found. These are still in place as of July 2018.

Depending on where you intend to travel, what you’ll be doing there and how long you’re staying for, you may now be advised to have a booster polio vaccination before travelling if you haven’t had one in the past 12 months.

Some of the countries where there’s risk of infection will require proof of vaccination before you’re permitted to travel elsewhere. If you don’t have this, you may be given a booster dose before departing.

Page last reviewed: 30 July 2018 Next review due: 30 July 2021

You May Like: Cvs Dtap Vaccine

What Are The Types Of Polio Vaccine

Two types of vaccines protect against polio, or poliomyelitis.

  • Inactivated poliovirus vaccine
  • IPV is the only polio vaccine that has been used in the United States since 2000.
  • It is given by shot in the leg or arm, depending on the patients age.
  • Children should get four doses total, with one dose at each of the following ages:
  • 2 months old,
  • 6 through 18 months old, and
  • 4 through 6 years old.

For more information, see About Oral Polio Vaccine external icon.

Since 2000, only IPV has been used in the United States to eliminate the risk of vaccine-derived poliovirus that can occur with OPV. This decision was also based on the decreased risk of wild poliovirus being brought into the country and because the U.S. is currently polio-free.

The IPV that has been used in the United States since 1987 is as effective as OPV for preventing polio. Two doses of IPV provides 90% immunity to all three types of poliovirus 3 doses provides at least 99% immunity.

How Long Does The Vaccine Last

The vaccine is first given in infancy, then at three years and finally at the age of 14.

Its given when your child is:

The Fit For Travel NHS website says: Everyone should receive a minimum of five doses of a polio-containing vaccine to have good long-term protection. This should be documented in your medical notes held by your GP.

You can receive booster doses of polio-containing vaccines if you have not had all five doses.

If you have had your whole series of vaccines you should be protected, but if you are going somewhere with a high incidence of polio, and it has been more than 10 years since your last one, you should get a booster.

The UKHSA is urging parents to check whether their children are up to date with the polio vaccination.

Don’t Miss: Can You Get A Tdap Shot At Cvs

Has This Ever Happened Elsewhere

The emergence of vaccine derived poliovirus has occurred in other countries in geographies and populations with chronically poor immunisation coverage. Eleven countries have reported VDPVs during the past six months and large outbreaks of circulating VDPV2 are ongoing in northern Nigeria, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yemen.

Can I Still Get Polio After Being Vaccinated

How vaccines work

No vaccine provides a level of protection where there is no risk of getting the disease after being vaccinated.

However, two doses of IPV provide 90% immunity to all three types of poliovirus.

The third dose boosts this to provide at least 99% immunity against all polio variants.

In 2015, type two was declared eradicated so many people may have been given the bOPV, meaning they are not protected against polio type two.

Also Check: Where To Get Tdap Vaccine Cvs

What Is The Oral Polio Vaccine

The oral polio vaccine is given to help prevent polio. Polio is a disease caused by a virus. The virus damages your brain and spinal cord. This can lead to paralysis or death. The virus is spread through direct contact, or you can inhale it. The OPV is given as drops in the mouth. The OPV has been replaced by the inactivated polio vaccine in the United States.

How Can Parents Pay For Polio Vaccine

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. However, you may want to check with your insurance provider before going to the doctor. Learn how to pay for vaccines.

If you dont have health insurance, or if your insurance doesnt cover vaccines for your child, the Vaccines for Children Program may be able to help. This program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. To find out if your child is eligible, visit the VFC website or ask your childs doctor. You can also contact your state VFC coordinator.

Also Check: Cvs Tetanus

Are People In London At Risk

The virus appears to be circulating, if only at low levels, in specific geographic areas. Hence the risk of exposure to the virus varies. This should remind people of the importance of being protected through vaccination as the risk of exposure to the virus is uncertain and would only spread through unvaccinated and under-vaccinated populations .

What Is Polio Vaccine


The polio vaccine is used to help prevent this disease in children and adults.

This vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Polio vaccine is for use in adults and children who are at least 6 weeks old.

Like any vaccine, the polio vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Don’t Miss: Cost Of Tdap At Cvs

How Were The Inactivated And Oral Poliovirus Vaccines Made

OPV was made by weakening the three strains of poliovirus that caused disease by growing them in monkey kidney cells. Poliovirus that was grown in these cells was so “weakened” that, after it was swallowed, it induced an immune response but didn’t cause disease. OPV induced antibodies in the intestines and, therefore, because polio enters the body through the intestines, provided a “first line” of defense against polio. Unfortunately, on occasion, OPV reverted back to the natural form, causing paralysis.

IPV, unlike OPV, cannot reproduce itself and, therefore, cannot possibly revert back to natural polio. To make IPV, poliovirus is purified and killed with a chemical . IPV elicits antibodies in the bloodstream, not the intestines. It prevents the virus from traveling through the blood to the brain or spinal cord, thereby preventing paralysis. In a sense, because the vaccine induces antibodies in the bloodstream, and not the intestines, IPV induces a “second line” of defense against infection.

When Were The Last Polio Epidemics In The Uk

During the early 1950s the UK was rocked by polio epidemics, with as many as 8,000 people suffering paralytic poliomyelitis.

The epidemics ended with the introduction of the oral polio vaccine in 1962.

A health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a child on May 23 during a polio vaccination campaign in Kandahar, Afghanistan. AFP

You May Like: Does Cvs Offer Tdap Shot

Are There Any Side

  • Slight swelling and redness at the injection site are common.
  • A little area of hard skin may form at the injection site, which usually disappears in time.
  • Sometimes a high temperature occurs a few hours after the injection.
  • Serious reactions, such as severe allergy or anaphylaxis, are extremely rare.

Multiple Samples Taken From Sewage Treatment Works In East London Between February And May Suggest The Virus Has Spread Between A Small Number Of People

WHO: The Two Polio Vaccines

The virus that causes polio was found in London sewage, leading to fears of an outbreak in the UK.

Multiple samples taken from sewage treatment works in east London between February and May suggest the virus has spread between a small number of people.

Officials say that the UKs polio-free status is now at risk, but it will depend on whether this outbreak can be confined to a small number of people.

You May Like: How Much Does Shingles Vaccine Cost At Cvs

Who Should Not Get Polio Vaccine

Tell the person who is giving the vaccine:

  • If the person getting the vaccine has any severe, life-threatening allergies.If you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of IPV, or have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, you may be advised not to get vaccinated. Ask your health care provider if you want information about vaccine components.
  • If the person getting the vaccine is not feeling well.If you have a mild illness, such as a cold, you can probably get the vaccine today. If you are moderately or severely ill, you should probably wait until you recover. Your doctor can advise you.

This information was taken directly from the Polio Vaccine Information Statement dated 7/20/2016.

The Uk Vaccine Programme

  • For young children, polio vaccine is normally part of the combined DTaP/IPV/Hib/Hep B injection – this stands for ‘diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis /polio/Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B’, which is given as part of the routine childhood immunisation programme. This called the 6-in-1 vaccine.
  • For adults and teenagers who receive polio immunisation, the combined Td/IPV vaccine is normally used – this stands for ‘tetanus, diphtheria/polio’.

As discussed earlier, the polio vaccine was given as drops into the mouth. In the UK, It is now always given as an injection. If you have previously started a course of polio immunisation with oral vaccine you can finish off the course with polio injections. You do not need to start again.

The vaccine is safe to be given if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Recommended Reading: How Much Does Tdap Cost At Cvs

How Do Vaccines Work

This article is part of a series of explainers on vaccine development and distribution. Learn more about vaccines from how they work and how theyre made to ensuring safety and equitable access in WHOs Vaccines Explained series.

Germs are all around us, both in our environment and in our bodies. When a person is susceptible and they encounter a harmful organism, it can lead to disease and death.

The body has many ways of defending itself against pathogens . Skin, mucus, and cilia all work as physical barriers to prevent pathogens from entering the body in the first place.

When a pathogen does infect the body, our bodys defences, called the immune system, are triggered and the pathogen is attacked and destroyed or overcome.

What Are The Symptoms Of Polio

Polio eradication: A new strategy for the final mile â Healthy DEvelopments

Most people with polio won’t have any symptoms. Others, about 1 in 4 people, will have mild symptoms that last 2 to 5 days.These symptoms can be: :

  • Pain in the arms and legs.

These symptoms usually go away on their own.

In about 1 in 200 people with polio infection the virus travels to the nervous system. Here it can cause pins and needles in the limbs, meningitis or even permanent paralysis, . This permanent paralysis is called paralytic polio.

The most infectious period of time is one day before and up to two weeks after paralytic polio. Between 5% and 10% of people with paralytic polio will die because the breathing muscles stop working properly.

Don’t Miss: Does Cvs Offer Tetanus Shots

The Polio Vaccine Rollout: How Does It Compare To Covid

by PHC Team | Jul 9, 2021

As the country is rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many people are concerned with how this vaccine was rolled out. How is this rollout different from other rollouts, such as the polio vaccine? Why did this vaccine come through so quickly? Here is the Polio rollout vs. the COVID rollout.

To compare the polio vaccination efforts to the COVID-19 way, we must first look at polios mass vaccination history. How does the polio vaccine work, what happened during the vaccine rollout, and how does this relate to our modern times? These are the questions this blog will answer.

Who Should Get The Opv

The OPV is no longer used in the United States except in certain cases. OPV doses may be given 4 to 8 weeks apart to the following:

  • Children who have not received any polio vaccine and who are traveling to areas with a high risk of polio
  • Large group vaccination programs to control current polio sickness or outbreak in an area
  • People with a life-threatening allergy to IPV

Don’t Miss: Tdap Vaccine At Cvs

We Are Closer Than Ever To Ending Polio

Polio, the deadly viral disease that was once the leading cause of paralysis among children worldwide, is very close to being eradicated. Since 1988, the number of children affected by polio has reduced by 99 per cent.

To eliminate polio completely, every child in every household must be vaccinated. But thousands of children are still missing out on the polio vaccine.

In addition to interruptions of vaccination campaigns and immunization activities by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these children live in remote, fragile and conflict-affected areas, which makes reaching them with vaccines even more difficult. Massive migrant and refugee populations, discrepancies in quality of vaccination campaigns and misinformation about vaccines also hamper polio eradication efforts.

The world is in the final stage of polio eradication. But pervasive challenges make this stage the most difficult yet.

Testing And Licensing Of Sabin Polio Vaccine

2. Securing a Polio-free World: The Polio Vaccines

For four years, researcher Albert Sabin partnered with health officials from the Soviet Union to produce a more affordable alternative. More than 10 million children received his oral polio vaccine during this period.

Studies showed that Sabins version triggered a faster immune response and was easier to administer than Salks vaccine. Both Salks injectable vaccine and Sabins oral vaccine stopped the spread of all strains of the poliovirus through the bloodstream.

Ultimately, the U.S. Surgeon General recommended licensing of Sabins OPV, which combined vaccinations against all three types of polio in 1963.

In the decades that followed, widespread use of the polio vaccine finally began to stem the tide of this contagious disease. The World Health Organization would later launch a global poliovirus eradication program in the 80s.

Read Also: Does Cvs Give Tetanus Shots

Are There Different Kinds Of Polio

Wild poliovirus is the most commonly known form.

But there is another, rarer type linked to the oral form of the vaccine.

The vaccine offers excellent protection against wild polio, is easy to use and has been deployed by many countries around the world – keeping millions of people safe.

However, it contains a weakened, live form of the virus which can replicate harmlessly in the gut. But that means some is then excreted in poo.

In rare cases, this weakened form can spread to unvaccinated people.

Over a long period the vaccine-derived virus might change to become more like wild polio.

Many industrialised countries now use the newer injectable form which contains a killed version of the virus.

Both vaccines are safe and effective.

In the last decade – a period during which more than 10 billion doses of oral polio vaccine were given worldwide – vaccine-derived-polio virus outbreaks resulted in fewer than 800 cases.

In the same period, in the absence of vaccination with the oral polio vaccine, more than 6.5 million children would have been paralysed by wild poliovirus.

Cultivating Poliovirus In Human Tissue

Scientists in New York City grew the poliovirus in embryonic brain tissue, allowing them to study how the virus spread. However, they were reluctant to create a vaccine in this manner due to the risks associated with using nervous system tissues. This particular study did at least advance the medical communitys understanding of the poliovirus ability to multiply.

Recommended Reading: Cvs Tdap Vaccine Schedule

Popular Articles
Related news