New Polio Recommendations: Effective July 2014

2014 marks a change in our efforts to eradicate polio form the world.  We have lost some ground. Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria, and Somalia are countries infected with polio (actively being transmitted from person to person in that country), and Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Pakistan and Syria are identified as “Exporting Polio virus” (someone with polio, acquired elsewhere but living in these countries, traveled and gave polio to someone else). 

The map below is borrowed from the CDC article which you can read here… 

polio spread



The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the international spread of polio a public health emergency.  As a result, new regulations are being put in place if you plan to travel to these affected countries. 

The short version of these recommendations is this:

If you will be staying in one of these countries for more than 4 weeks, you will need a booster (it may be required to leave that country) regardless of your past immunization status. For children, (or adults who have never been vaccinated) you can get your second polio vaccine (IPV) 4 weeks after the first, and get the 3rd dose 4 weeks after that.  If you have enough time, the 4th dose for children (and 3rd dose for adults – who need one less shot) should be given at least 6 months after the previous dose.  

Remember, if you are not traveling outside of the Americas (North, Central, and South America) there has still not been a newly acquired case for decades. For parents who are trying to vaccinate their infants on a delayed schedule, this should still be a reasonable approach, as long as you plan to get the protection before travel to these affected countries.  The IPV is a very safe vaccine, and I have never seen any reaction other than local redness at the injection site, in my 25 years of giving this vaccine (thousands given). You should also not hesitate to get this one on the recommended schedule, if you want that protection.  It has no mercury or aluminum, but does have 100 micrograms of formaldehyde, and was made in monkey kidney cells. I would not hesitate to get this vaccine for myself or my children if I was to travel to the countries listed above.


To read the entire CDC report, click here…


Dr. Paul






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