Polio Vaccination Recommendations for Specific Groups
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.
Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adults who are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus should receive and complete the polio vaccination series with IPV. Other adults who are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated should talk with their doctor to understand their risk for polio and need for polio vaccination. 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.
- Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adults whose children will be receiving oral poliovirus vaccine (for example, international adoptees or refugees).
- Unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adults living or working in a community where poliovirus is circulating.
Unvaccinated adults who are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus should be given three doses of IPV at these recommended intervals:
- Two doses separated by 1 to 2 months
- 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) and who are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus 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.
Adults who have had three or more doses of polio vaccine in the past and are at increased risk – of exposure to poliovirus may get one lifetime booster dose of IPV.
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 the 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.
For more information, see the ACIP recommendations for polio vaccination.