Poliomyelitis (Polio)

Prevention

How can polio infections be prevented?

Polio can be easily prevented with the polio vaccine.

The vaccine is given by needle and is very safe. Polio is included in a vaccine that protects against multiple diseases. Typically, the vaccine a baby receives also protects against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) and tetanus. Children are immunized 4 times in infancy (usually at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months of age). They also get a booster of the vaccine between the ages of 4 and 6 years.

Side effects of this vaccine are usually very mild. Your child may:

  • have a slight fever
  • be fussy
  • be sleepier or have less appetite than usual

Your child's arm or thigh might be a bit red or sore where the needle went in.

These side effects are common. They happen 12 to 24 hours after the immunization and usually go away within a few days.

You can still get polio if you travel to a polio infected country (see travel health notices). If you are travelling to one of these countries visit your health care provider at least 6 weeks before you leave. You and your children may need a vaccine booster shot.

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