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Polio vaccine

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.

Vaccine recommendations

The polio combination vaccines are free as part of the National Immunisation Program at:

Polio vaccines may also be recommended to other groups including:

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.

If you are concerned or worried, seek further advice from your doctor, immunisation provider, SA Health’s Immunisation Section or healthdirect Australia.

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
  • resting
  • 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.

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