Poliovac: Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)

Poliovac vaccine is an inactivated polio vaccine. It is prepared and marketed by Serum Institute of India. 

It is given by injection unlike oral polio vaccine given orally. It contains 3 strains of polio virus in inactivated non-infectious form. The goal of this vaccine is reducing the VAPP after elimination of the polio with oral polio vaccine.

This is a vaccine which contains 3 strains of poliovirus in its inactivated form. Each dose (0.5 mL) of trivalent vaccine is formulated to contain 40 D antigen units of Type 1, 8 D antigen units of Type 2, and 32 D antigen units of Type 3 poliovirus. 

Each 0.5 ml dose of Poliovac vaccine contains

Poliovirus type 1 Mahoney strain40 D antigen units
Poliovirus type 2 MEF strain8 D antigen units
Poliovirus type 3 Saukett strain32 D antigen units
2-phenoxyethanol2.5 mg
Formaldehyde12.5 mcg

How is Poliovac vaccine available?

Poliovac vaccine is available in ready to inject formulation as slightly opalescent liquid form. It is available in a sterile form for injection in a vial of 0.5 ml single dose. 

It is also available in 1 ml, 2.5 ml and 5 ml vial form which contains 2, 5 and 10 doses respectively

How is Poliovac vaccine stored?

Poliovac vaccine is stored at 2-8 degree Celsius as recommended by the manufacturer. Temperature range is maintained by the cold chain. The vaccine if accidentally frozen should be discarded and not used. 

The temperature range is maintained at all stages of storage and transport. If frozen accidentally or goes above the recommended temperature range should be discarded and not used. 

The vaccine which has passed expiry should be discarded and not used. It is discarded with all the necessary biomedical waste management protocol precautions for the given area.

How is the Poliovac vaccine given?

Poliovac vaccine is given by injection on antero-lateral aspect of thigh in infants and small children. For adults and adolescents it can be given on the deltoid region of the shoulder. 

All standard safe injection precautions need to be taken. After use the disposables and needles are to be discarded as per the guidelines for biomedical waste management protocols. 

The expired vaccine should be discarded as per BMW protocols so that it is not harmful to the environment.

At what age Poliovac vaccine is given?

Poliovac Vaccine can be given as early as 6 weeks age. It should be given at 2,4,6 months and at 18 months and 5 years.

Usually the primary series of vaccination given at age 6,10,14 weeks contains Infanrix Hexa, Pediarix or Kinrix vaccines that contain IPV components so need not to be given separately.

Adolescents and adults who haven’t got this vaccine or Oral polio vaccine in childhood should be given this vaccine as 0.5 ml doses 3 doses as recommended.

For adults and adolescents those who have not been immunised for polio should get this vaccine 2 doses 1-2 months apart and a third dose given at 6-12 months later.

Alternatively this vaccine can be given 3 doses 1 month apart between 2 doses, if immunity is needed earlier.

This vaccine is also indicated to those

  • Who are going to travel and likely to get exposed to wild polio virus.
  • Persons working in a lab who are likely to come in contact with polio virus.
  • Healthcare workers.
  • Those who were shifted to the USA and previously received oral poliovirus vaccine.

In the USA oral polio vaccine is no longer available and not used. Only IPV or combination vaccines are currently used.

About multidose vial

This vaccine is also available in multidose vial form. It can be used in multidose vial form and the remaining dose can be used in subsequent session till day 28 of opening vial as suggested by WHO with following conditions:

  • The vaccine should be prequalified by WHO for such use.
  • The vaccine was stored strictly at temperature suggested by WHO and the manufacturer.
  • The vaccine is within the expiry date.
  • If the vaccine vial monitor attached to the vial and it indicates that vaccine has not passed beyond the point of usage.

How does the Poliovac vaccine work?

Poliovac is an inactivated vaccine. It contains inactivated polio virus. This is an active form of immunization. When this vaccine is injected to an individual the antigens in it get inside the body. These antigens are recognized by the immune system of the individuals. The immune system develops mechanisms to fight against the virus and if real infection takes place the immune response is rapidly ramped up and the disease is prevented. Given as per schedule it prevents polio disease as well as VAPP associated with oral poliovirus vaccine.

Safety with other vaccines

This vaccine being inactivated virus vaccine is safe to be given with DTaP, HiB, Hepatitis B, rotavirus, Pneumonia and MMR vaccine.

One should not mix this vaccine with another vaccine or drug in the same syringe. It should be given at a separate site with a separate syringe.

What are side effects of Poliovac vaccine?

Side effects of Poliovac vaccine are usually mild and can be managed at home very easily.

  • Fever can be there after the vaccination. It can be mild to moderate grade and can be managed at home by paracetamol and sponging. Fever may last for 1-3 days usually reduces with time.
  • Local pain and redness swelling can come at injection site. It may last for 1-3 days. It can be easily managed with paracetamol and local cold fomentation.
  • Headache can come in some patients after vaccination. Usually reduces in 1-3 days. This headache can be managed at home with paracetamol.
  • Irritability and abnormal crying.
  • Loss of appetite and vomiting.
  • Muscular pain and fatigue seen after vaccination may last for the 1-3 days. It generally reduces on its own.
  • Allergy and anaphylactic reaction: This is a very rare side effect. The vaccine should not be given to those who are allergic to the component/s of the vaccine. The anaphylactic reaction should be managed very swiftly. The skilled person, necessary drugs and equipment should be available for the management.

What cautions are needed with this vaccine?

The evidence of exposure of this vaccine during pregnancy suggests that it is safe during pregnancy but should be used only if chances of getting polio infection are high in such situation.

Like any other vaccine there is extremely rare but real risk of getting anaphylaxis reaction. The center at which vaccination is given should be equipped with skilled personnel and equipment available to manage the anaphylactic reactions.




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