​Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

Imovax Polio®

This vaccine protects against polio. This disease is easily prevented with immunization.

What is polio?

  • A highly contagious disease caused by the poliovirus
  • Spread by eating food or drinking water with the polio germ in it, as well as from person to person
  • Can cause nerve damage, severe muscle pain and weakness, paralysis and even death

Who should get polio vaccine?

  • Infants at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months and children at 4-6 years
  • Usually given as a part of a vaccine that protects against additional diseases
  • Unimmunized children and adults
  • Previously immunized adults traveling to areas where polio is spreading
  • To attend school, all students in Ontario require polio vaccination

Talk to your doctor/public health nurse if you:

  • Had a bad reaction to a vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine, had a serious reaction to neomycin polymyxin B or streptomycin, or have any other allergies
  • Are pregnant
  • Take medications or have any diseases that lower the immune system or increase bleeding
  • Feel very sick

What if a needle is missed?

  • You should get the next needle as soon as possible
  • If you didn’t follow the routine immunization schedule a “catch-up” schedule will be recommended
  • At least one dose of polio vaccine is required after the fourth birthday

What if I decide not to be immunized?

Choosing not to be immunized or delaying immunization puts you/your child at risk of getting sick with polio and its other serious complications (e.g. paralysis). This vaccine is required by law (Immunization of School Pupils Act, 2014) for school attendance. Students who are not vaccinated may be suspended from school.

Is IPV vaccine safe?

Yes!  You may have no reaction or mild symptoms that include:

  • Redness, swelling,  and pain where the needle went in
  • Low fever
  • Children may become fussy or sleepier than usual;

These normal reactions usually last between 12 and 24 hours.

When should I call my doctor?

Serious reactions after vaccination are very rare.  Get immediate medical help if you/your child have any unusual symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing, swelling in your face/mouth and/or blotchy skin (hives)
  • fever above 40°C (104°F);
  • crying or fussing for more than 24 hours;
  • worsening swelling, redness, and/or pain where the needle went in;
  • unusual sleepiness (difficult to wake)

You know best.  If you notice anything that is not normal after a vaccination, check with your healthcare provider.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.


  • Make sure to update your immunization record
  • Notify the Health Unit each time your child receives a vaccine by phone (519-753-4937 ext. 451) or online

Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian Immunization Guide)Publicly Funded Schedules for Ontario (March 2015)

This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. Please note there is a cost for immunizations that are not included in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 451 or immunizationintake@bchu.org