Polio

Jenette's story

About the vaccine

The polio vaccine protects against infection from all 3 types of polio virus.  While most polio infections show no symptoms, others can result in paralysis of arms or legs and even death.  Polio is now rare in BC because of routine immunization programs, but it is still important to get immunized to ensure it stays this way.

Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get polio.

Who should get the vaccine? 

The polio vaccine is provided free in BC.  It is given to infants and children as part of their routine immunizations.  The vaccine is combined with other vaccines, so a person can receive protection from several diseases with one shot.  

Several different vaccines are used to prevent polio:

*Click on the link for more information about the vaccine, including the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine.

About the disease

  • Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system, causing paralysis and difficulty breathing
  • The disease can be caused by direct contact with an infected person through food, water or hands contaminated with human feces (stool)
  • Extensive use of polio vaccine has eliminated the disease in the western hemisphere. It is still common in some other areas of the world. Epidemics can occur when large numbers of people have not had the vaccine

Photo courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. More vaccine preventable disease images