Polio (poliomyelitis) vaccine

Information about polio vaccines, who it is recommended for, how and where to get vaccinated. If you're eligible, you can get the polio vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program.

Polio (also known as poliomyelitis) is a viral infection that can cause paralysis and death.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from polio.

Who should get vaccinated against polio

Anyone who wants to protect themselves against polio can talk to their vaccination provider about getting immunised.

The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends polio vaccination for specific groups including:

  • routine vaccination of infants
  • routine booster vaccination in adults at higher risk of exposure to polio, such as healthcare workers and laboratory workers who may have contact with polio cases or poliovirus, and travellers to areas or countries where polio is epidemic or endemic
  • vaccination of adults who have never received polio vaccine.

Polio combination vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for children aged 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 4 years.

Eligible people under 20 years old and refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age can get a free catch-up vaccination. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood and it is recommended to receive the vaccine.

Polio containing vaccines should not be given to people who have had:

  • anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any poliovirus vaccine
  • anaphylaxis after any component of a poliovirus vaccine.

Polio vaccine is not generally recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Read more about getting vaccinated.

How to get vaccinated against polio

Polio vaccines come as a single vaccine or as a combination vaccine that also protects against other diseases.  In the past, polio vaccines were given as drops in the mouth, but are now all given as needles.

Polio vaccines include:

* Indicates National Immunisation Program vaccine.

Your vaccination provider will tell you which vaccine they will give you.

Find product information and consumer medicine information for each available vaccine from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Where to get vaccinated

You can get your vaccine from a range of vaccination providers. Find out where and more about your vaccination visit at getting vaccinated.

Possible side effects of polio vaccination

You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most reactions are mild and last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.

Common side effects of polio vaccines include:

  • muscle aches
  • pain, redness and swelling at injection site
  • occasionally an injection-site lump (may last many weeks - no treatment needed)
  • mild fever.

Talk to your vaccination provider about possible side effects of polio vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.

The Consumer Medicine Information available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website lists the ingredients and side effects of each vaccine.

Learn more about the possible side effects of vaccination.

Date last updated:

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