Cartoon image of a man showing his arm where he received a vaccination

Visit our COVID-19 website for more information

Visit our COVID-19 website for more information

Visit our influenza website for more information


Ipol is an inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). Only IPV-containing vaccines are available in New Zealand. Worldwide, IPV-containing vaccines are gradually replacing oral polio vaccines (OPV) that are associated with vaccine-derived polio infections in some developing countries.

Polio vaccine is administered on the New Zealand national immunisation schedule as part of some combination vaccines e.g. diphtheria, tetanus, whopping cough, polio vaccines. Ipol is available for use when polio is the only vaccine required or when combination vaccines are not available or recommended.

While New Zealand is free from polio it is important to continue to vaccinate everyone to both protect individuals from imported virus and to contribute to the global eradication of this disease.

Responses to vaccine

Very common side effects
Common reponses
  • Mild pain, redness and swelling around injection site
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Sleepiness
  • Changed feeding behaviour in infants
Rare responses

Other formulations and brands

IPOL vaccine is funded for unimmunised or partially immunised children and adults who have not complete a primary course of three vaccinations. Polio vaccine in children up to 10 years of age is usually administered as a combination vaccine e.g. Infanrix-IPV or Infanrix-hexa.

The vaccine is recommended but not funded for those in occupations in which they are exposed to sewerage and laboratory specimens which may contain poliovirus, and those in close contacts with patients who may be excreting polioviruses. A single booster dose may be recommended every 10 years for those at continued risk of exposure to poliovirus infection.

Special groups

Polio vaccine is not funded for special groups.

Catch-up doses

Adults and children can catch-up at any time.

Oral and injectable polio vaccine doses are interchangeable in a course of three primary vaccinations and a booster dose. At least one dose of IPOL or inactivated polio-containing vaccine (IPV) is recommended. Oral polio vaccine is not available in New Zealand.

Refer to Appendix 2 in the current Immunisation Handbook for further details on catch-up schedules and doses.

Storage and preparation

Store as per cold chain between 2°C to 8°C.


A primary course of IPOL consists of three subcutaneous doses with a minimum interval of 4 weeks between each of the doses.

Children who received three primary doses younger than 10 years of age should receive a fourth booster dose of a polio-containing vaccine.

Children aged 10 years or older and adults should receive a three-dose primary series. Those who continue to be at risk of polio infection are recommended to have a single-dose booster every ten years.

Women who are breastfeeding can safely have IPOL.

IPOL can be administered concurrently with other vaccines, including all the National Immunisation Schedule vaccines. Separate syringes and different injection sites should be used.

Vaccine Safety

Polio vaccine should not be given to:

  • Anyone with severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of this vaccine or other poliovirus containing vaccine, or a component of the vaccine.
  • Administration of Ipol should be postponed in individuals suffering from a fever over 38°C. The presence of a minor infection is not a reason to delay immunisation.

Vaccine Effectiveness

Studies in infants after two doses of IPOL demonstrated seroconversion in 95-100% of infants for type 1, 97–100% for type 2 and 96–100% for type 3 polioviruses. After the third dose of vaccine 96–99.1% of infants/young children had seroprotective antibody levels for type 1, 96–100% to type 2 and 97–100% for type 3 polioviruses.

Ipol can induce the production of secretory IgA antibody which neutralises polio viruses and blocks viral secretion from the pharynx and gastrointestinal tract. By preventing virus entering the environment, herd immunity can also be generated and maintained in populations where only inactivated polio vaccine is used.

Duration of protection has been found to be at least 6–10 years when given infancy and childhood.

The response in adults to primary series Ipol has not been investigated and therefore vaccine approval for use in adults is based on the immunogenicity and safety of the vaccine’s use in children.


Last updated: