About the polio vaccine

  • The polio vaccine protects against polio, a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus.
  • In the Yukon, polio is a part of the combination immunization DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib, which protects infants and children from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, polio and haemophilus influenzae type B, all in one vaccine.
  • This vaccine is given as a series of 3 doses.
  • A booster dose (DTaP-IPV) is given to children when they start school for lifelong polio protection.



3 Dose Primary Series: DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib Vaccine

  • This is a combination vaccine which protects infants from Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio and Haemophilus Influenza Type B Adsorbed (DTaP- HB- IPV- Hib)
  • This vaccine is given as a series of 3 doses to infants at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months of age. 


Booster dose at 18 months of age: Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus (DTaP-IPV-Hib) vaccine

  • This vaccine is given as a booster dose to infants at 18 months of age, after the 3 dose primary series is complete.


Booster dose at 4 to 6 years of age: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio (Tdap-IPV) vaccine

  • This vaccine is given as a booster dose to children between 4 to 6 years of age who have already been vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio at a younger age. 


3rd booster: Polio (IPV) vaccine

  • Adults travelling to countries where polio is endemic or who may be exposed to polio through work should receive a booster dose of IPV.
  • Polio immunization can also be given on its own to children and adults who were not immunized as infants but who have already received protection from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and Hib in other vaccines.
  • Polio is a very contagious infection caused by the poliovirus.
  • The virus enters the body through the mouth and attacks the nervous system.
  • Polio is spread through contact with feces (poop) of an infected person or by direct contact with someone who is infected. Poor hand washing and contaminated water or food are the main sources of infection.
  • Most polio infections have no symptoms or very mild symptoms that can go unrecognized.
  • In severe cases, paralysis of arms or legs, and even death can occur.  Paralysis occurs in about 1 in 200 people infected with the poliovirus.
  • The polio vaccine has eliminated the disease in most parts of the world. However, it still exists in certain countries and if people aren’t immunized, it could spread quickly.
  • This vaccine is safe and very effective.
  • Vaccination is the best way to protect against polio and its complications.
  • The polio vaccine is combined with other vaccines to protect you or your child against other infections with fewer shots.
  • When you or your child get vaccinated, you help protect the spread to others too.
  • This vaccine is free to most people that need it.
  • Most children and adults have no reactions to immunization.
  • For people that have reactions, the most common is swelling and redness with or without tenderness around the injection site.
  • A few people may develop fever, headaches or muscle pain. These reactions are mild, and generally last 1 or 2 days. If this is the case with you or your child, you may choose to give or take a fever medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Some infants may experience drowsiness, irritability or loss of appetite following immunization.
  • Side effects of the immunization are easily relieved by applying a cold and damp compress to the site and administering acetaminophen or ibuprofen for temperatures 38.5°C or higher. See your health care provider if your symptoms are severe or last longer than 48 hours.
  • It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any immunization because there is a rare possibility of developing a severe allergic reaction which is treatable at the clinic. This happens to fewer than 1 in 1 million people. If it happens after you leave the clinic, call 911 or the local emergency number. If you or your child experiences any serious or unexpected reactions, please contact your physician and report all severe reactions to one of the nurses at your local Health Centre.

Find out how to get immunized