If you wonder if your polio vaccine you had as a child is still current, you can check your polio virus antibody titers with a blood test. There are three types of polio viruses PV1, PV2 and PV3, the immunity from one is not transmitted to the other types.

It is very important to be vaccinated. Do not panic but organize yourself and your family early rather than late, so you are not taken by surprise. We have the vaccines at the office but in limited supplies.

The following information is from the Center of Disease Control.

Who Should Get Polio Vaccine?

Infants and Children

As part of routine childhood immunization, children in the United States should get inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to protect against polio, or poliomyelitis. They should get four doses total, with one dose at each of the following ages:

• 2 months old
• 4 months old
• 6 through 18 months old
• 4 through 6 years old

Children who have not started their polio vaccine series or who are delayed in getting all recommended doses should start as soon as possible or finish their series by following the recommended catch-up schedule.

People who plan to travel internationally should make sure they and their children are fully vaccinated against polio before departure.

Adults

Most adults have likely already been vaccinated against poliovirus during childhood, and that is why IPV is not part of routine adult vaccinations.

However, adults who are unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or are completely vaccinated but are at higher risk for contact with poliovirus should receive polio vaccination.  The following situations put adults at higher risk:

• You are traveling to a country where the risk of getting polio is greater. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to be vaccinated.
• You are working in a laboratory or healthcare setting and handling specimens that might contain polioviruses.• You are a healthcare worker treating patients who could have polio or have close contact with a person who could be infected with poliovirus.

Adults who have never been vaccinated against polio should get three doses of IPV:

• The first dose at any time
• The second dose 1 to 2 months later
• The third dose 6 to 12 months after the second

Adults who have had one or two doses of polio vaccine in the past should get the remaining one or two doses.

Adults who are at increased risk of contact with poliovirus and who have previously completed the polio vaccination series (IPV or OPV) can receive one lifetime booster dose of IPV.

DR. ALBERT LEVY
Family Practice Physician
www.manhattanfamilypractice.com

ALBERT LEVY

By ALBERT LEVY

Assistant Professor Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Family Medicine Albert Einstein College of Medicine and The New York Medical College

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