Polio: For Travelers
Updated September 28, 2022
- Polio, or poliomyelitis, has been eliminated from most of the world. But it still occurs in some countries.
- Travelers to countries where there is an increased risk of exposure to poliovirus may receive a one-time booster dose of IPV before traveling.
People who plan to travel internationally should make sure they are fully vaccinated against polio before departure. When visiting one of the countries where there is an increased risk of exposure to poliovirus, you may be required by the government of that country to show proof of polio vaccination on your yellow International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) when departing that country.
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 countries where the risk of getting polio is greater 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 visited 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 countries with increased risk of exposure to poliovirus and who are unvaccinated 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.
If an adult cannot complete the above series before departure, an accelerated schedule (three doses of IPV administered at least 4 weeks apart) is recommended.
Incompletely vaccinated adults who have had only one or two doses of polio vaccine in the past and who are traveling to countries with increased risk of exposure to poliovirus should get the remaining one or two doses of IPV (administered at least 4 weeks apart).
Adults who completed the polio vaccine series as children and are planning to travel to countries with increased risk may receive a one-time booster dose of polio 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.