Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

Inactivated (killed) polio vaccine (IPV) is given by injection at 2, 4, and 6 months, and then 4 years of age. It is also recommended for health care workers and travelers. Given at the same time as other vaccines or in combination with them, it is not possible to determine the adverse effects of this vaccine. They may mimic the problems associated with the oral vaccine as they are both grown in African green monkey kidneys and can be contaminated by animal proteins and viruses.

It is worth noting that the first polio vaccines given by injection were quickly withdrawn as symptoms of polio paralysis occurred after vaccination.

  • In changing the recommendations for polio vaccination to the injected vaccine it was noted that “the big disadvantage of OPV (oral vaccine) is that it can cause
  •  vaccine associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP)”.95
  • VAPP may also occur in a child who receives intramuscular injections (or vaccines) after being given oral polio vaccine and this is called “provocation polio”.96
  •  Oral polio vaccine is given in developing countries as “it is cheap and a level of immunisation spreads to contacts97

Outbreaks of polio are common in these countries following mass immunisation campaigns.

Most people are exposed to ‘wild type’ polio virus in their environment without any noticeable symptoms and gain a natural immunity. Vaccine exposure to polio virus however carries some risks –

  • Studies show that the three strains of poliovirus in the oral vaccine recombine and form new strains in the process of vaccination.98
  • Two children died and 19 others were paralysed in the Dominican Republic and Haiti thought likely to be a result of a mutant strain of the oral polio vaccine.99
  • A monkey virus, ‘SV40’ (simian virus), which contaminated polio vaccines given in the 1950’s and 1960’s has been found in tumours in patients with cancers of the blood, bone and brain.100 The vaccine was given to more than 98 million Americans and to children and adults in Australia and other countries.
  • Other viruses may have arisen from live oral polio vaccine and account for “a spectrum of dysfunctional brain diseases”.101

The injected vaccine has formaldehyde and the antibiotics neomycin, streptomycin and polymyxin B. An allergy to any of these is a contra-indication to having the vaccine.

95 Bitowski, M, Polio strategy on hold if strain persists, Medical Observer 29 Sept 2000, p47
96 NEJM 1995; 332: 500-6
97 IBID, 95
98 Furione, M. et al, Polioviruses with natural recombinant genomes isolated from vaccineassociated paralytic poliomyelitis, Virology, 1993; 196: 199-208.
99 Reuters 10/4/1
100 AM J Med June1, 2003;11(8):675-684
101 Martin, WJ Pathobiology 1996; 64(2): 64-6