Polio vaccination with a dead vaccine is recommended by the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) for all infants, children and adolescents. People with missing or incomplete vaccinations are strongly advised to do so or to complete them. Adults who have received a complete primary vaccination with a booster dose are considered to be fully immunized. Find out more about the polio vaccine here.
Polio vaccine: meaning
Polio vaccine is the only effective protection against polio. Although the disease no longer occurs in Germany, polio diseases are occasionally introduced by international travel. Therefore, poliomyelitis vaccination is still important.
Polio vaccine: vaccines
From the 1960s to 1998, the polio vaccine was in Germany as Schluckimpfung (OPV = oral polio vaccine) administered. The live vaccine contained attenuated polio viruses and was administered on a piece of sugar. Since the oral vaccine occasionally led to a disease outbreak (annually one or two cases of paralytic poliomyelitis), the Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute changed the vaccination recommendations in 1998: Since then, only one vaccine for the polio vaccine inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) used as an injection that can not cause any disease. The trivalent polio vaccine is a dead vaccine, so it contains only killed polio agents, all three types (hence “trivalent”).
Polio vaccine: vaccination scheme
Poliomyelitis vaccination is performed in infancy as part of primary immunization along with five other standard vaccinations. The six-fold vaccine includes vaccines against diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B. This combination vaccine is administered in four partial vaccinations: the first dose is given from the 2nd month of age, the second dose to the 3rd month of age , the third dose from the completed 4th month of life and the fourth at the end of the first year of life (11th to 14th month of life).
If the polio vaccine is administered alone (as a monovalent vaccine) and not as a combination vaccine with other vaccines, patients will receive two or three vaccinations in the first and second year of life respectively for the primary vaccination.
Refreshing the polio vaccine
The Robert Koch Institute recommends that the polio vaccine be refreshed once between the ages of nine and 17 years. At the same time, the vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough are usually also refreshed.
After the age of 18, a routine polio-vaccine refresher is no longer recommended. Another dose of vaccine is recommended only for the following adult who has had their last boost more than 10 years ago:
- Travelers to countries at risk of infection (take note of the latest World Health Organization (WHO) reports)
- Medical staff who have close contact with polio sufferers
- Staff in laboratories with poliomyelitis risk
- Resettlers, refugees and asylum seekers in community facilities when they have arrived from regions with polio risk
- Personnel of said facilities
Missing or incomplete primary immunization
If a child has received no or not all of the four partial vaccinations of the primary vaccination as a child or the vaccinations have not been documented, the polio vaccine should be made up or completed. More detailed information can be obtained from your doctor.
Polio vaccine: protection duration
A fully immunized person is one who has received a complete primary vaccination and booster dose.
Polio vaccine: vaccine reactions and side effects
The sixfold vaccine is generally well tolerated. Sometimes, a slight skin reaction (redness, swelling, pain) develops at the injection site. Neighboring lymph nodes can swell. In addition, slight general reactions such as fatigue, gastrointestinal complaints or temperature increases are possible. High fever and bronchitis can also occur. However, such reactions to the polio vaccine combined with other vaccines usually go away one to three days after the vaccination.
Some people are allergic to components of the vaccine. Other side effects are rare.
The vaccination reactions and side effects may vary slightly depending on the combination vaccine used.
Polio vaccine: Contraindications
Like all vaccines, the Polio vaccine not be administered when someone is suffering from a feverish illness.