The polio vaccine protects you against polio (poliomyelitis) which can cause fever, headache, vomiting and back stiffness and in severe cases can lead to paralysis.
The polio vaccine is provided free as part of the National Immunisation Program for specific groups in two different types of combination vaccines.
The polio combination vaccines are free as part of the National Immunisation Program at:
- 6 weeks of age, 4 and 6 months of age in combination with diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, haemophilus influenza type b and hepatitis B called Infanrix hexa®
- 4 years of age in combination with diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough called Infanrix IPV® or Quadracel®.
Polio vaccines may also be recommended to other groups including:
- people travelling overseas to countries where there is a high risk of polio infection
- healthcare workers that have not been immunised
- to new arrival refugees under the New Arrivals Refugee Immunisation Program
How the vaccine is given
The polio vaccine is given as an injection into the thigh if under 12 months of age, and into the top of the arm if over 12 months of age.
Possible side effects
Like any medications, the polio vaccine can have some minor and short lasting side effects.
Common side effects may include:
- muscle aches
- pain, redness and swelling where you were immunised
- a low grade fever of 37 to 38 degrees Celsius
- a decreased appetite.
Rarely, you may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.
Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to the Immunisation Section.
Reducing the side effects
Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:
- drinking extra fluids
- taking paracetamol as per the instructions on the packet/bottle
- not overdressing if hot.
Where to get immunised
To receive the vaccine contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal health centre to arrange an appointment.
For further information on immunisation providers, see the Immunisation services page.