IPOL is a routine childhood vaccine used to prevent polio. It contains three different strains of inactivated polio virus that "trick" the body into thinking it has been exposed to an actual polio infection. The vaccination is given as an injection in three or four separate doses, depending on the age and previous vaccination history of the individual.
What Is IPOL?
IPOL® (inactivated polio vaccine) is a polio vaccine. Unlike earlier oral vaccines, this one is injected (not taken by mouth). Most importantly, because IPOL is an inactivated vaccine, it cannot cause polio. In rare cases, the oral polio vaccine can cause disease. Although the oral vaccine is still used in some parts of the world because it is less expensive, it is no longer recommended in the United States.
(Click IPOL Uses for more information on what the vaccine is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Thimerosal Content and Other Concerns
IPOL does not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). Parents who are concerned about exposing their children to this element can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal -- not even trace amounts. Some parents also are concerned about the aluminum content of vaccines; IPOL does not contain any aluminum.
Parents may also have concerns about the use of human or animal components in vaccines. The polio virus used in this vaccine is grown in a line of monkey kidney cells using bovine (cow) calf serum. No human cell components are used to make this vaccine.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine information statement: polio vaccine (1/31/00). CDC Web site. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-IPV.pdf. Accessed August 24, 2009.
Liu X, Levin A, Makinen M, Day J. OPV vs IPV: past and future choice of vaccine in the global polio eradication program (revised June 2003). The Partners for Health Reformplus Project, Abt Associates, Inc.
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