This is given when your child is 2, 3 and 4 months. The first booster is given when your child is between 3 and 5 years. The second booster is given when your child is between 13 and 18 years. Polio vaccine protects against the disease poliomyelitis.
What is polio?
Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can cause permanent muscle paralysis. If it affects the chest muscles it can kill. The virus is passed in the faeces of infected people or those who have just been immunised against polio. Routine immunisation has meant that the natural virus no longer causes cases of polio in the UK. But polio is still around in other parts of the world, especially in India.
How is it given?
Unlike other immunisations, you take the polio vaccine by swallowing it. The doctor or nurse drops the liquid into your child's mouth.
Are there any side effects?
There is an extremely small chance of developing polio from the immunisation - the risk is of one case in more than 1.5 million doses used.
The nurse at the clinic told me to be careful about changing my child's nappy after the immunisation. Why is this?
The polio vaccine is passed into your child's nappies for up to six weeks after the vaccine is given. If someone who has not been immunised against polio changes your child's nappy, it is possible for them to be affected by the virus. There is about one case each year. This works out at about one case for every 1.5 million doses used.
You must wash your hands thoroughly to prevent this happening. If you think you have not had the polio immunisation, contact your doctor. You can arrange to have it at the same time as your child. This also goes for anyone else in the family who looks after your child.
This information has been sourced from Health Promotion England.