Contraindications and Precautions for Polio Vaccination

Contraindications and precautions for vaccination generally dictate circumstances when vaccines will not be given. Most contraindications and precautions are temporary, and the vaccine can be given at a later time.

Hypersensitivity or Anaphylactic Reactions

People who have had severe allergic (anaphylactic) reactions after a previous dose of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) or after taking streptomycin, polymyxin B, or neomycin should not receive IPV. IPV contains trace amounts of streptomycin, polymyxin B, and neomycin, and people who are sensitive to these antibiotics can also have hypersensitivity reactions to IPV. No serious adverse events related to use of enhanced-potency IPV have been documented.


Although there is no evidence that polio vaccine virus causes harm to pregnant women or their fetuses, pregnant women not at increased risk should not receive the polio vaccine. However, if a pregnant woman is at increased risk for exposure and requires immediate protection against polio, IPV can be given in accordance with the recommended schedules for adults.


IPV is the only vaccine recommended for people with immunodeficiency and people in their households. Many people with immunodeficiency are immune to polioviruses because they were previously vaccinated or were exposed to wild poliovirus when their immune systems were healthy. They may not respond fully to the vaccine, but it is safe and might provide some protection.

False Contraindications

Women can still receive IPV if they are breastfeeding.

People with these conditions can still receive IPV:

  • diarrhea
  • minor upper respiratory illnesses with or without fever
  • mild to moderate local reactions to a previous dose of vaccine
  • current antimicrobial therapy
  • the convalescent phase of an acute illness

Any adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at 1-800-822-7967 or through the VAERS websiteexternal icon.

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Page last reviewed: May 4, 2018