Contraindications and Precautions for Polio Vaccination

Contraindications and precautions for vaccination generally dictate circumstances when vaccines will not be given.

Contraindications

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.

Precautions

Pregnancy: Can Vaccinate if at Increased Risk of Polio Infection

Although there is no evidence that IPV vaccine causes harm to pregnant individuals or their fetuses, IPV should not be given during pregnancy if there is not an increased risk of infection.  However, if a pregnant individual is at increased risk for exposure and requires immediate protection against polio, IPV can be given in accordance with the recommended schedules for adults.  OPV, a live attenuated virus vaccine sometimes given in other countries, should not be given during pregnancy.

Not Contraindications

Immunodeficiency

  • IPV is the only polio vaccine recommended for people with immunodeficiency and people in their households. Immunodeficient persons may not respond fully to the vaccine, but it is safe and might provide some protection.

Breastfeeding

  • IPV can be given to those who are breastfeeding.

Minor Illness or While Taking Antibiotics

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 website.

Page last reviewed: August 8, 2022