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Limited Supplies of Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine -- United States

There is a shortage of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the manufacturers (Pasteur Merieux Serums & Vaccines, S.A. {Lyon, France} {IPOLTM} *, and Connaught Laboratories, Limited {Willowdale, Ontario, Canada} {POLIOVAXTM}), and the distributor, Connaught Laboratories, Inc. (Swiftwater, Pennsylvania), are working to resolve the shortage.

Until IPV becomes readily available, CDC recommends that its use be restricted to 1) never-vaccinated persons aged greater than 18 years who are at risk for exposure to wild poliovirus (e.g., who will be traveling to areas in which poliomyelitis is endemic), and 2) persons for whom oral polio vaccine (OPV) is contraindicated (i.e., persons diagnosed with or living in a household with a person with a congenital or acquired immune deficiency). Inadequately or fully vaccinated adults who have previously received IPV or OPV and need poliovirus vaccine can be given OPV (1,2). OPV continues to be recommended routinely for all children, except as noted above.

If supplies are not available locally, poliovirus vaccination of persons for whom OPV is contraindicated should be delayed until IPV becomes available. Because no case of polio resulting from indigenously transmitted wild poliovirus has been reported in the United States since 1979, postponing vaccination for these persons until IPV is available is not likely to pose a risk to those persons. Unvaccinated adults who may be exposed to wild poliovirus during travel to polio-endemic areas and cannot obtain IPV should consider vaccination with OPV but should be informed that the risk for vaccine-associated paralytic polio is slightly higher in adults than in children (1,2). Otherwise, these persons should avoid activities or travel that might result in exposure to wild poliovirus.

Information about obtaining IPV for high-risk persons is available from the distributor, Connaught Laboratories, Inc., telephone (800) 822-2463. MMWR will provide updated information when the shortage is alleviated.

Reported by: Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration. National Immunization Program, CDC.


  1. ACIP. Poliomyelitis prevention. MMWR 1982;31:22-6,31-4.

  2. ACIP. Poliomyelitis prevention: enhanced-potency inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine -- supplementary statement. MMWR 1987;36:795-8.

* Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the Public Health Service or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Page converted: 09/19/98


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