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Polio Vaccine

The polio vaccine is recommended for some African countries due to outbreaks.

Available at all Away Clinic locations:

Away Clinic is an Arizona-based travel vaccine provider specializing in hard-to-find vaccines and expert medical advice for international travelers. Vaccines are administered by a registered nurse following CDC guidelines. 

Polio was almost eliminated in the United States due to mass vaccination. As of 2022, there have been polio cases reported in New York and outbreaks in other countries.

What are the symptoms?

About 25% of those with a polio infection have flu-like symptoms for 2-5 days. A small proportion of those infected develop meningitis and paralysis. Between 1 in 200 to 1 in 2000 people experience paralysis based on which virus type they contracted.

Those who experience paralysis have a 2-10% chance of death due to the virus affecting their breathing muscles. Children who appear to have recovered can develop paralysis, muscle pain or weakness as adults decades later. 

How is polio transmitted?

Polio spreads person-to-person and lives in a person’s throat and intestines. It can also contaminate food and water in unclean conditions. If you have contact with an infected person’s feces or breathe droplets from a sneeze or cough of an infected person.

If someone contracts the virus, they can transmit the virus to other people at that time and for up to two weeks after symptoms start.

How do I prevent polio?

The Inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) is the vaccine available in the United States since 2000 to protect people against polio. Practicing good hand hygiene with soap and water helps prevent polio. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not protective against polio because they do not kill the virus.

Travelers going to some countries in Africa may be recommended to get a one-time adult polio booster shot due to the outbreaks occurring. For adults who have not been vaccinated against polio as a child, a three dose series is recommended.

Can I get the polio shot with other vaccines?

The polio shot is not a live virus vaccine and can be taken in conjunction with other necessary vaccinations. There is no recommended spacing period between the polio vaccine and other vaccines.

Previously, the oral polio vaccine was a live virus vaccine, but that formulation is no longer used in the United States.

Find out what vaccines you need for your trip

Check out our Safe Travel Guide

Tips for safe travel, travel supplies checklist, travel insurance, travel shopping lists.

Find out what vaccines you need for your trip

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East Asia

Europe & North/Central Asia

Australia & the Pacific

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