Polio vaccine

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

The polio vaccine comes in two forms. The OPV or Oral Polio Vaccine contains the live virus. The IPV or Inactivated Polio Vaccine contains the dead viruses. The OPV is a cheaper version, but it carries the risk of some of the live virus staying back in the body to cause the disease. The IPV doesn’t carry this risk, but it is the costlier one.
The OPV nevertheless has proven to be immensely successful and is the preferred choice of the developing nations.

The Polio Vaccine Schedule-
The polio vaccine is given as oral drops to babies. Most adults do not require polio vaccination. There are some special instances that would warrant an adult to take the polio vaccine. These include:

  1. Persons travelling to a region where poliomyelitis is endemic.
  2. Persons working in labs handling polio viruses.
  3. Healthcare workers who work with patients who are acutely infected with the virus.

If you fall into any of these categories, speak to your doctor. You would be advised vaccination as follows:

  1. The first dose at any time.
  2. The 2nd dose 1-2 months after the first one.
  3. The 3rd dose 6 to 12 months after the 2nd dose.

Do not take the vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction earlier. Reactions to antibiotics like streptomycin and neomycin are also factors that go against getting a polio vaccine.

High risk groups for the OPV vaccine include pregnant women and immune-compromised people. In such cases, the IPV would have to be administered with utmost care.