Polio Vaccination Recommendations for Adults
Most adults residing in the United States are presumed to be protected against polio because they received routine childhood immunization and have only a small risk of exposure to poliovirus in the United States. In general, unless there are specific reasons to believe they were not vaccinated, most adults who were born and raised in the United States can assume they were vaccinated for polio as children. Polio vaccination has been part of the routine childhood immunization schedule for decades and is still part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Adults who received any childhood vaccines almost certainly were vaccinated for polio.
Adults who are known or suspected to be unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated against polio should receive and complete the polio vaccination series with IPV. Adults who completed their polio vaccination but who are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus may receive one lifetime IPV booster.
Situations that put adults at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus include:
- Travelers who are going to countries where polio is epidemic or endemic (For additional information, see Polio: For Travelers).
- Laboratory and healthcare workers who handle specimens that might contain polioviruses.
- Healthcare workers or other caregivers who have close contact with a person who could be infected with poliovirus.
- Adults who are identified by public health authorities as being part of a group or population at increased risk of exposure because of an outbreak.
Adults who have had three or more doses of polio vaccine in the past and are at increased risk – of exposure to poliovirus may receive one lifetime booster dose of IPV.
Unvaccinated adults should be given three doses of IPV at these recommended intervals:
- The first dose at any time
- The second dose 1 or 2 months later
- A third dose 6 to 12 months after the second dose
Adults who are incompletely vaccinated (previously received one or two doses of either IPV or tOPV) should receive the remaining doses of IPV to complete the three-dose series at the recommended interval:
If the adult has received Dose 1, and
- It has been ≥4 weeks since Dose 1, then give Dose 2 today. Dose 3 (final) should be given at least 6 months after Dose 2.
- It has been <4 weeks since Dose 1, then wait to give Dose 2 at least 4 weeks after Dose 1.
If the adult has received Dose 2 and
- It has been ≥6 months since Dose 2, then give Final Dose 3 today. This will complete the person’s primary polio vaccination series.
- It has been <6 months since Dose 2, then wait to give Final Dose 3 at least 6 months after Dose 2.
In some circumstances, when there is not enough time to give three doses of IPV according to the above recommended intervals, then an accelerated schedule can be used:
- If protection is needed in ≥8 weeks, three doses of IPV can be administered at least 4 weeks apart (e.g., at weeks 0, 4, and 8).
- If protection is needed in ≥4 but <8 weeks, two doses of IPV should be administered at least 4 weeks apart (e.g., at weeks 0 and 4).
- If protection is needed in fewer than 4 weeks, a single dose of IPV should be administered.
If the accelerated schedule cannot be completed before a situation that puts someone at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus, the remaining doses should be given as soon as possible (e.g., in the visited country, or upon returning home) to complete the primary series at the recommended intervals, such that the third dose should be given at least 6–12 months after the second dose if that is possible.
There are no known risks to getting IPV at the same time as other vaccines.