Lincolnshire Post-Polio Library - A Service of The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network
The late effects of Polio Information for Health Care Providers
Charlotte Leboeuf

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There are two vaccines. The Salk vaccine, an inactivated intramuscular type, was introduced in the late 1950s. This was followed ten years later by the Sabin vaccine, an attenuated live oral variety (1).

It is widely believed that the Sabin vaccine is the more efficient, since it produces gut as well as systemic immunity (2). The Salk type results only in systemic immunity, allowing for excretion of wild polio virus in symptom-free carriers. Since the Sabin type is a live vaccine, there is a risk of vaccine-related paralysis (3-5).

The risk of contracting vaccine-related paralysis in vaccine recipients or their close contacts has been estimated to be one per 3 million doses distributed (6). Immunisation should be offered early in life to avoid such ill-effects of the vaccine, which is more common with increased age. Unimmunised parents should be immunised at the same time as their infants to protect them from infection from virus that will be present in the infant's faeces for some three weeks.

Some of the contra-indications to polio immunisation are:


  1. Woodruff P. Two million South Australians. Kent Town, S.A.: Peacock Publications, 1984:82-8.
  2. Goldblum N, Swartz T. The Israeli experience in the control of poliomyelitis during a quarter of a century, 1957-1982. Rev Infect Dis 1984;6 Suppl 2:S313-7. [PubMed Abstract]
  3. Hinman AR, Koplan JP, Orenstein WA et al. Live or inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine: An analysis of benefits and risks. Am J Public Health 1988;78:291-5. [PubMed Abstract]
  4. Salk D. Polio immunization policy in the United States: A new challenge for a new generation. Am J Public Health 1988;78:296-300. [PubMed Abstract]
  5. Hinman AR, Koplan JP, Orenstein WA et al. Decision analysis and polio immunization policy. Am J Public Health 1988;78:301-3. [PubMed Abstract]
  6. National Health and Medical Research Council. Commonwealth Department of Health. Immunisation procedures. Australian Government Publishing Service, 1986:26-8.

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Copyright The Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network 1997 - 2010.

This document comprises an index, foreword, introduction and seventeen other sections or subdocuments. Permission for printing copies is granted only on the basis that ALL sections are printed in their entirety and kept together as a single document.

Document preparation: Chris Salter, Original Think-tank, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
Created: 7th July 1997
Last modification: 20th January 2010.
Last information content change: 6th June 2000

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