What is Polio?

Polio is a disease caused by a virus which is spread by feco-oral route, which means that virus is spread in community stools of the infected person and can be transmitted to a healthy person by consumption of food or water contaminated by same and it enters the body through the mouth.

Most of the times, it may result in a mild viral like illness with vague symptoms like fever, body aches, loose stools but sometimes it causes paralysis (can’t move arm or leg), and it can cause meningitis (irritation of the lining of the brain). It can cause serious complications if paralysis involves the muscles that help us breathe.

Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) & Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)

Oral Polio Vaccine(OPV)

OPV are drops, given to swallow. It may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Children get multiple doses of OPV, depending on whether they have got Injectable Polio Vaccine or not.

OPV is no more recommended for children who are receiving routine full doses IPV. This is not the case in our National Immunization schedule at government centers where fIPV, i.e. fractionated IPV is used in 2 doses only. Means a low dose of IPV- 0.1 ml is given intradermal instead of 0.5 ml intramuscular and no of doses is two instead of three. So there OPV is also given along with fIPV.

OPV Schedule

  • For all Children a dose of OPV at Birth
  • For children receiving fIPV doses, along with 3 doses of DPT and at age 9 months, 15 months and 4-6 yrs of age
  • Not needed if child receiving full routine doses of IPV beyond 6 weeks of age

Injectable Polio Vaccine(IPV)

Its a much better vaccine as compared to Oral Polio Vaccine(OPV) drops in terms of immunity and protection against Polio disease but still OPV is used along with IPV because of many operational challenges and Polio Eradication not being declared and OPV doses help to prevent an outbreak of disease in community(Herd Immunity)

Parents should note that Pulse Polio Drops are not to be confused with the regular vaccination whether its IPV or OPV and pulse polio drops are recommended for every child upto the age of 5 years irrespective of having received OPV or IPV.

Vaccination Schedule for IPV

A total of 5 doses of IPV are given starting 6-8 weeks of age – First 3 doses in first 6 months, then a boosters at 15-18 months & age 4-6 years

It is available as a combination vaccine with DPT/HIB/Hepatitis B and does not usually require a separate prick for administration. At times due to poor availability of IPV containing vaccines, one has to follow different schedules for a particular case.

PULSE POLIO DROPS– Click to read in detail

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