Polio: For Travelers
- Polio, or poliomyelitis, has been eliminated from most of the world. But it is still a threat in some countries.
- Even if you were previously vaccinated, you may need a one-time booster shot before traveling to a country where the risk of getting polio is greaterexternal icon.
People who plan to travel internationally should make sure they are fully vaccinated against polio before departure. When visiting one of the higher polio risk countries, you may be required by the government of the country to show proof of polio vaccination on your yellow International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (IVCP) when departing that country. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about this requirement.
Vaccination for International Travelers
CDC recommends that all infants and children in the United States are vaccinated against polio with four doses of the IPV vaccine given at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and 4-6 years. Infants and children traveling to areas where the risk of getting polio is greaterexternal icon should complete the routine series before departure.
If a child cannot complete the routine series before departure, an accelerated schedule is recommended as follows:
- first dose at age 6 weeks or older
- a second dose 4 or more weeks after the first dose
- a third dose 4 or more weeks after the second dose
- a fourth dose 6 or more months after the third dose
If the accelerated schedule cannot be completed before leaving, the remaining doses should be given in the affected country, or upon return home, at the intervals recommended in the accelerated schedule. In addition, children completing the accelerated schedule should still receive a dose of IPV at 4 years old or older, as long as it has been at least 6 months after the previous dose.
Adults who are traveling to areas with increased risk of polio and who are unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or whose vaccination status is unknown should receive a series of three doses:
- two doses separated by 1 to 2 months, and
- a third dose 6 to 12 months after the second dose.
Adults who completed the polio vaccine series as children and are traveling to areas with increased risk of polio should receive a one-time booster dose of vaccine (IPV).
For more information on polio vaccine recommendations for travel, talk your healthcare provider or visit Travelers’ Health: Poliomyelitis.
Visit CDC’s Travelers’ Health Notices site to see the most current information about polio around the world and what special steps you need to take to protect yourself or a loved one from polio while traveling.