Polio Vaccine

Vaccine Information Leaflet

What is the Polio Vaccine Used For?

Polio vaccines help to prevent infection caused by three types of Poliovirus. The inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) contains the killed form of the Poliovirus.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a highly infectious disease which can affect the muscles and nerves throughout the body. In a small number of people, this can lead to permanent paralysis of the limbs. Most people infected with polio will not have any symptoms or have only minor symptoms which often go away completely.

Polio is spread by contact with infected people, such as through oral contact with body fluids or faecal material from an infected person. Some symptoms that can happen at the beginning include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, neck stiffness and pain in the limbs.

Who Should Receive the Polio Vaccine?

As part of the Singapore National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS), all children should receive a series of three doses from age 2 months onwards, followed by two booster doses at appropriate intervals, usually given together in combination with other vaccines.

For at-risk unvaccinated adults, their vaccination schedule may differ and booster dose may be advised if indicated. Please consult your doctor for more information.

What Precautions Should I Follow Before Receiving the Polio Vaccine?

Inform your healthcare professional if:
  • You are allergic to this vaccine or any of the other ingredients of this vaccine, including antibiotics Neomycin, Streptomycin or Polymyxin B
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • You are taking any other medications
  • You had a side effect to the previous dose of the vaccine
  • You are currently not feeling well and having a fever
  • You have a history of bleeding disorders

How Is the Polio Vaccine Given?

IPV is given by injection into a muscle, as a series of three doses followed by two booster shots. It may be given on its own as one shot, or in combination with other vaccines (e.g. Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, and Haemophilus Influenzae type b-Hib) as one shot.

What Are Some Common Side Effects of the Polio Vaccine?

  • Some people may feel faint after the vaccination
    • Sit for 15 minutes to avoid fainting 
  • Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site 
    • You may place a cold compress over the affected area for relief
    • You may take paracetamol for pain relief 
Please see a doctor if these side effects do not get better or become worse. 

What Are Some Rare But Serious Side Effects That I Need to Seek Medical Advice Immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following: 
  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should inform your healthcare professional immediately.

The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on May 2021

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