Poliomyelitis (polio)

Inactivated poliovirus () vaccine or -containing vaccines are on the Australian Immunisation Schedule  and recommended for:

  • routine vaccination of infants
  • routine booster vaccination in adults at higher risk of exposure to polio, such as healthcare workers and laboratory workers who may have contact with polio cases or poliovirus, and travellers to areas or countries where polio is epidemic or endemic
  • vaccination of adults who have never received polio vaccine

The disease

Poliomyelitis or polio is an acute illness caused by gastrointestinal infection with 1 of the 3 types of poliovirus. The infection rate in households with susceptible young children can reach 100%. Although Western Pacific region, including Australia, was declared polio-free in 2000, it is still only a plane ride away, and vaccination must continue until polio is eradicated around the world. For more information about the eradication of polio from the world please see here.

The vaccine

-containing vaccine is recommended for children at 2, 4 and 6 months and 4 years of age, and every 10 years for adults at higher risk of exposure to polio.

The oral polio vaccine is no longer used in Australia


(Text adapted from the Australian Immunisation Handbook)

For more information about polio and the vaccine available please see here.

Page reviewed November 2018.
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