Vaccination is the best protection against poliomyelitis and its complications. 

The poliomyelitis vaccine is given to children from age 2 months. It is usually combined with the vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and serious Hæmophilus influenzæ type b infections (Hib). This vaccine is also given to travellers, irrespective of their age, when they go to countries where they might be exposed to poliomyelitis.


Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine, e.g. redness at the injection site. Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine, e.g. cold, gastro, headache.

Poliomyelitis vaccine is safe. In most cases, it does not cause any reaction.

The Nature and Frequency of Possible Reactions to Vaccine
FrequencyPossible reactions to the vaccine

Very often
(less than 50% of people)

  • Pain at the infection site
  • Fever in children

(less than 10% of people)

  • Redness at the injection site

(less than 1% of people)

  • Swelling at the injection site

What to Do after Vaccination

Tips to follow immediately following vaccination

Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.

If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.

Tips to follow at home

If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.

Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.

When to Seek Medical Help

See a doctor if one of the following applies to you: 

  • You experience serious and unusual symptoms
  • Your symptoms get worse instead of improving
  • Your symptoms last over 48 hours