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How Does IPV Work?

Simply stated, IPV "tricks" the body into thinking it has been exposed to a polio infection, but without the risk of an actual infection. The vaccine contains three different strains of polio virus that have been "inactivated" (killed). These viruses cannot cause polio. The body produces antibodies that will help fight infection if future exposure occurs.
Polio enters the body through the digestive system. Therefore, IPV is not as good as the oral polio vaccine for preventing the virus from infecting the digestive tract. Such an infection would be harmless to the individual, but could still be spread to other people.

However, because the oral polio vaccine, which is a live vaccine, can rarely actually cause polio, IPV is currently recommended instead in the United States.

When and How to Get IPV

Some general considerations to be aware of with this vaccine include the following:
  • The standard IPV series consists of four doses (for young children) or three doses (for adults). It is often given at the same time as other routine childhood immunizations.
  • IPOL can be injected either into a muscle (intramuscularly) or just under the skin (subcutaneously). The other IPV vaccines must be given intramuscularly.
  • Individuals can be vaccinated if they have a minor illness, such as the common cold. However, the vaccine should be postponed if the child is moderately or severely ill.

Dosing Information

The dose of IPV vaccine that your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on the following factors:
  • The particular vaccine
  • The vaccination history of the individual
  • The age of the individual.
(Click IPV Dosage for more information.)
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IPV Information

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