Polio Vaccines

Authored by
Last reviewed
September 13, 2023
Content Overview
Polio vaccines are available globally in 2023. Polio vaccine news fact-checked by medical professionals.

Polio Vaccines 2023

There are two types of polio vaccines in use during 2023, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The inactivated (killed) polio vaccine (IPV) was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955 and has been offered in the United States since 2000. The live attenuated (weakened) oral polio vaccine (OPV) was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in 1961. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) says the OPV contains a weakened strain of the poliovirus that has changed over time and now behaves similarly to a wild-type polio infection. In addition, OPV can lead to vaccine-derived poliovirus, which can enter the blood and paralyze an unvaccinated person. The GPEI reports that before April 2016, the trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (tOPV), which contains types 1, 2, and 3) was the predominant vaccine used for routine immunization against poliovirus. Before the development of tOPV, monovalent OPVs (mOPV2) were developed in the early 1950s but were discontinued upon the adoption of tOPV. Following April 2016, the tOPV was replaced with the bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV). As of February 2023, the tOPV remains used with children in countries such as Somalia. 

On August 9, 2023, The Strategy Committee of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) announced it commissioned a formal evaluation of the 2016 global withdrawal of Sabin poliovirus 2 (OPV2) and switched from tOPV to bOPV. The evaluation aims to generate critical lessons learned from the OPV2 withdrawal to guide the direction of the GPEI, including future OPV withdrawal efforts. The finalization and publication of the evaluation are planned for mid-2024.

The 6th Transition Independent Monitoring Board report was published on August 2, 2023, evaluating the progress and challenges of the polio transition process and recommending strengthening work at the global, regional, and country levels. 

Polio Vaccines U.S. CDC

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Oliver Brooks, MD, FAAP, led a review of poliovirus, polio vaccination, and polio epidemiology on June 21, 2023. The ACIP's Proposed Language: Adults who have received a primary series of tOPV or IPV in any combination and are at increased risk of poliovirus exposure may receive another dose of IPV. Available data do not indicate the need for more than one-lifetime booster dose for adults with IPV. Sarah Kidd, MD, MPH, led the ACIP presentation on Adult Polio Vaccination: Recommendations for unvaccinated and incompletely vaccinated adults; Recommendations for booster doses of IPV.

On May 12, 2023, the CDC reported from January  2021–March 31, 2023, GPEI supported 48 countries, during which approximately 988 million bOPV, 616,000 IPV, 960,000 fractional IPV, 90 million mOPV2, 595 million nOPV2, and 100 million tOPV doses were administered. Since 2000, the IPV vaccine has been available in the U.S. The CDC says the IPV can reduce how much poliovirus people shed but can't stop all virus transmission. The U.S. CDC published a poliovirus vaccine update recommending children get four doses of any combination of IPV and trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) or a primary series of at least three doses of IPV or tOPV. The OPV is not offered in the U.S.

In 2016, the CDC announced to address the risks posed by type 2 circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses, the type 2 component of the OPV was withdrawn through a switch from the tOPV) to bOPV, which contains only attenuated viruses of types 1 and 3. However, the bOPV vaccine does not offer immunity against serotype 2. This change reduced the risk of tOPV seeding new cVDPV2 outbreaks in the U.S.

Polio Vaccines 2023

The Imovax Polio®; IPOL® IPV vaccine is indicated for active immunization of infants (as young as six weeks), children, and adults to prevent poliomyelitis caused by poliovirus types 1, 2, and 3. The IPV protects against both wild-type polio and this weakened poliovirus strain. Refer to the ACIP IPV catch-up vaccine table for details and age groups.

Kinrix is indicated for active immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and poliomyelitis as the fifth dose in the IPV series in children 4 through 6.

Pediarix is a vaccine for active immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and infection caused by all known subtypes of hepatitis B virus and poliomyelitis. 

Pentacel is a multi-vaccine consisting of Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, and Acellular Pertussis Adsorbed and Inactivated Poliovirus (DTaP-IPV) component as well as an ActHIB® vaccine component.

Quadracel vaccine is indicated for active immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and poliomyelitis.

Sabin IPV inactivated vaccine produced by SINOVAC Biotech Ltd. is indicated to prevent the Wild Polio Virus and was WHO prequalified in June 2022.

WHO Prequalified Polio Vaccines 2023

On March 28, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization revised its nOPV2 vaccine recommendations under WHO's Emergency Use Listing procedure. The SAGE recommends that nOPV2 be the preferred choice for response to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) wherever possible. The nOPV2 vaccine has been offered in various African countries in August 2023. Approximately 700 million doses have been administered in more than 31 countries worldwide. The Global OPV Stockpile Strategy for 2022-2026 was published. As of July 2023, View-Hub posts the current availability of polio vaccines for each country.

LGChem (Eupolio) is the first attenuated Sabin-IPV to obtain WHO prequalification. The main advantage is a lower biosafety risk.

SINOVAC's sIPV polio vaccine was WHO-approved for children to prevent poliomyelitis from infection of types I, II, and III polioviruses in June 2022. sIPV is available for United Nations agencies to purchase.

Polio Vaccination Effectiveness

Estimates of vaccine effectiveness against paralytic polio range from 36%–89% for one dose, and IPV vaccination appears to reduce the mean quantity of shed poliovirus by 63%–91%. And research indicates no significant difference between IPV and unvaccinated individuals in the odds of poliovirus shedding. A U.S. CDC-funded study published by The Lancet on May 10, 2023, concluded that co-administration of nOPV2 and bOPV interfered with immunogenicity for poliovirus type 2 but not for types 1 and 3. The blunted nOPV2 immunogenicity we observed would be a significant drawback of co-administration as a vaccination strategy.

Polio Vaccine Price

The U.S. CDC confirmed the Vaccines For Children program is a federally funded program that provides IPV vaccines and medicines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of their inability to pay. The U.S. CDC Vaccine Price List was updated in 2023. This UNICEF table overviews. For people in the U.S. not covered by health insurance, a polio booster typically costs about $100. So, for example, pharmacies may charge about $100 for an IPV polio booster shot. 

Polio Vaccines Africa

The U.S. CDC confirmed the nOPV2 vaccine is more genetically stable and less likely to be associated with the emergence of cVDPV2. Since the nOPV2 launched, approximately 670 million doses have been administered in more than 29 countries worldwide. However, suboptimal mOPV2 vaccination coverage appears to have seeded the cVDPV2 emergences detected from 2018 through 2021.

Polio Vaccines The Americas

The Pan America Health Organization (PAHO) confirmed in September 2022 that polio vaccination coverage has fallen below 80% in nearly all of South America, and 12 countries (Brazil) in the region are at High or Very High risk of experiencing a polio outbreak.

Polio Vaccines Europe

The European Immunization Agenda 2030 is endorsed by all 53 Member States in the European Region. In 2021, only 25 of our region's 53 countries reached the 95% or over polio vaccination coverage rate that WHO recommends. During 2023, inactivated polio vaccines are used in all EU/EEA countries.

Polio Vaccines Israel

In March 2023, the state of New York recommended travelers to Israel ensure they are fully vaccinated against polio. The Israeli Ministry of Health launched Operation 2-Drops in April 2022, offering additional polio vaccinations for about two million children aged six weeks to 17 years. However, as of March 2023, about 150,000 children in Israel remain unvaccinated against poliovirus.

Polio Vaccines United Kingdom

The U.K. Health Services Agency (UKHSA) confirmed an IPV Booster campaign was launched in London targeting children aged 1 to 9 on September 29, 2022. The polio vaccine is part of the NHS childhood vaccination schedule. It's given when children are 8, 12, and 16 weeks old as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine; then at three years and four months old as part of the 4-in-1 (DTaP/IPV) pre-school booster, and at 14 years old as part of the 3-in-1 (Td/IPV) teenage booster. In the U.K., children need all these vaccinations to be fully vaccinated against polio.

Poliovirus Outbreaks 2023

The latest polio outbreak news is posted by PrecisionVaccinations.