Per Wikipedia:  “Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. In about 0.5 percent of cases there is muscle weakness resulting in an inability to move. This can occur over a few hours to a few days. The weakness most often involves the legs but may less commonly involve the muscles of the head, neck and diaphragm. Many people fully recover. In those with muscle weakness about 2 to 5 percent of children and 15 to 30 percent of adults die. Another 25 percent of people have minor symptoms such as fever and a sore throat and up to 5 percent have headache, neck stiffness and pains in the arms and legs. These people are usually back to normal within one or two weeks. In up to 70 percent of infections there are no symptoms. Years after recovery post-polio syndrome may occur, with a slow development of muscle weakness similar to that which the person had during the initial infection.

“Poliovirus is usually spread from person to person through infected fecal matter entering the mouth. It may also be spread by food or water containing human feces and less commonly from infected saliva. Those who are infected may spread the disease for up to six weeks even if no symptoms are present. The disease may be diagnosed by finding the virus in the feces or detecting antibodies against it in the blood. The disease only occurs naturally in humans.”

According to the CDC, there have been no cases of polio in the US since 1979.  

Vaccine Statistics

When debating informed consent, it is important that people calculate the risk versus the reward for all options.  Here are some facts, according to VAERS and the CDC.

  • Since 2000, there have been at least 989 deaths reported to VAERS associated with the polio vaccine.
  • Since 2000, there have been 60496 adverse events reported to VAERS 

With no other data, it is clear that children face a greater risk from the polio vaccine than they do from contracting and dying from polio itself.  Since 2000, there have been an average of 3.8 million live births in the US annually.  With 93% vaccination rates across the country, this equates to approximately 3.5 million children being vaccinated at 3 doses per child each year, leaving the odds of death at approximately 1 in 193,000 per individual dose, or 1 in 64,300 for the entire series.  If the FDA’s assessment of reporting compliance is correct (<1%), these odds could be as low as 1 in 1930 per dose, or 1 in 643 per entire series.  The problem with this calculation, however, is that we simply do not know the true number of deaths attributable to the polio vaccine due to our faulty reporting system.  Other statistics (based upon estimated numbers of doses administered per the above calculation) reported since 2000 (rate reported/rate possible per FDA):

  • 1177 immediately life threatening complications (1 in 53,500/1 in 53)
  • 601 permanent disabilities (1 in 105,000/1 in 1050)
  • 5055 hospitalizations or extensions of hospitalizations (1 in 12,500/1 in 125)
  • 20964 emergency room or office visits related to complications (1 in 3000/1 in 30)

Some of the possible rates per the FDA are too chilling to want to believe, and to be perfectly honest, we are skeptical of them.  This is the greatest problem with estimating risk versus reward when real numbers are deliberately obscured.  

The CDC states that with two doses of the polio vaccine, 90% of individuals will have sufficient immunity, and after 3 doses, 99-100% will have sufficient immunity.  There no data available describing the length of protection afforded by this immunity, but the CDC estimates that successful vaccination will provide “many years” of protection.

Vaccine Safety

Vaccine Typedead cell/fully immune

Pregnancy ClassB

This section will reference the IPOL vaccine insert as provided by the FDA.

Contraindications (do not administer):

  • Allergy or sensitivity to any component of the vaccine, including 2-phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, neomycin, streptomycin and polymyxin B
  • Acute febrile illness

Adverse Reactions (as reported by the manufacturer):

  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome, injection site soreness/redness, erythema, irritability, sleepiness, anorexia, vomiting, encephalitis, lymphadenopathy, agitation, anaphylaxis, arthralgia, myalgia, convulsion, febrile convulsion, paresthesia, rash, urticaria

Scientific Studies

Editor’s Opinion

In the US, children have virtually zero chance of contracting polio over the course of their lifetime.  When one considers that as few as 5% of those that contract the disease have serious complications, and less than a fraction of 1% suffer long-term disabilities even if they manage to contract the disease, the risk versus reward calculation skews heavily in favor of refusing a vaccination that offers more risk than the disease, even if it was still circulating in the population.  For these reasons alone, we do not recommend that anyone administer the polio vaccine to their child in today’s society.