Poliovirus vaccine, live (By mouth)


Poliovirus Vaccine, Live (POE-lee-oh VYE-rus VAX-een, lyve)

Prevents infections caused by poliomyelitis (polio) in children and adults. Routine production of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) has been discontinued in the United States; an emergency stockpile is maintained in the event of a poliovirus outbreak.

Brand Name(s)

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • The vaccine will be given by your doctor or nurse.
  • Your baby should be given 3 doses between 6 weeks and 18 months of age, with a fourth dose when he/she enters kindergarten. The first dose should be given to babies 6 to 12 weeks old. The second dose should be given 6 to 8 weeks later, and the third dose given at 15 to 18 months of age, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • Older children and teenagers who have not taken the vaccine should take two doses 6 to 8 weeks apart and the third dose 6 to 12 months after the second dose.
  • Adults who have not received the vaccine may need to receive the same dosing schedule as older children and teenagers.
  • An extra dose (booster dose) is sometimes needed for travelers, certain caregivers (such as doctors or nurses), and close (household) contacts of children who are to be given oral poliovirus vaccine.

If a dose is missed:

  • You must use this medicine on a fixed schedule. Call your doctor or pharmacist if you miss a dose.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Oral poliovirus vaccine should not be given to patients who are receiving cancer medicines, radiation treatment, or high doses of a steroid medicine (such as prednisone).
  • Certain other vaccines should not be given around the same time as oral poliovirus vaccine - check with your doctor.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before receiving this vaccine.
  • Wash your hands after going to the bathroom and before touching or putting anything in your mouth.
  • Wash your hands after changing your child's diaper or taking your child's temperature.
  • Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your household have any diseases.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Rapid swelling of your eyes or face.
  • Severe muscle weakness.
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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