- The last reported death in Ireland from polio was in 1994.
- In about 95% of cases, polio infection is subclinical and does not cause symptoms.
- Polio was declared eradicated in Europe in 2002 and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the region still had its polio free status 20 years on.
Health Freedom Ireland (HFI) encourages you to become fully informed about vaccines and the associated illnesses so that you can give informed consent if you choose to vaccinate yourself or your child(ren). This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. HFI is simply bringing this information to you – we neither recommend nor advise against vaccination.
Does the HSE recommend a vaccine for polio?
Despite polio having been eradicated in Europe for over 20 years there is a recommendation to get 4 doses of polio before the age of 5. Each of the vaccines outlined below is covered in detail in the linked Health Freedom Ireland documents (including risks, benefits, ingredients and studies).
- Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine is recommended at 2, 4 & 6 months of age.
- Tetravac vaccine is recommended for junior infants.
As of 23rd September, 2023, 67,851 adverse events (including 217 SIDS deaths) have been reported on the World Health Organisation (WHO) VigiAccess database for 6-in-1 vaccines including Infanrix Hexa and 75,686 for 4-in-1 vaccines including Tetravac.
Does the polio vaccine guarantee protection?
No – you may still get polio even after vaccination.
What is Polio?
Poliomyelitis, commonly called polio, is an infection caused by a virus that multiplies in the gastrointestinal tract. Polio is transmitted when the virus enters the mouth or nose and infects the throat and gastrointestinal tract.
- In about 95% of cases, polio infection is subclinical and does not cause symptoms. According to this paper a mild viremic form of the illness accounts for around 4% to 8% of infections which may present as gastroenteritis, influenza-like illness, and mild respiratory tract infections, which usually subside within 1 week.
- In less than 1% of cases, the polio virus infects the central nervous system and paralyzes the muscles of the arms and legs or muscles needed for breathing and swallowing, which can lead to permanent paralysis or death.
- The live attenuated oral polio vaccine (OPV) can cause vaccine strain polio in the vaccinated person or in a person, who comes in contact with a recently vaccinated person’s body fluids (urine, stool, saliva) because the vaccine strain polio virus is shed for several weeks after vaccination. Vaccine strain polio can cause mild or severe and permanent paralysis similar to the paralysis caused by wild type polio.
- Ireland has administered only inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) since 2001 which cannot cause vaccine strain polio. However, OPV is used widely in annual polio vaccine campaigns targeting children in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East causing polio outbreaks.
Polio was declared eradicated in Europe in 2002 and according to the WHO, Europe has maintained its polio free status for 20 years. Today, globally it is an infectious disease that affects children living in poverty in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, where sanitation and hygiene is poor and access to clean water and food is limited.
What is the risk of my child getting polio in Ireland?
Polio has been eradicated in Europe for over 20 years on so the risk of getting polio in Europe is negligible.
What is the risk of dying from polio in Ireland?
There have been no deaths from polio in Ireland since 1994. The risk of dying from polio in Ireland in the decade before the vaccine was introduced in 1957 was extremely rare at less than 1 in 166,667 (0.0006%).
|average population 1948 – 1957 = 2,944,300 |
average annual risk of dying from polio during this period < 1 in 166,667 (0.0006%)
Polio disease Vs vaccine risk summary
Read the Health Freedom Ireland article on the Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine which includes the polio vaccine for further information including risk and ingredients analysis, studies in support of and studies highlighting concerns.
|RISK FROM POLIO DISEASE|
|Current risk of getting polio in Ireland||Negligible (polio declared eradicated in Europe 2002)|
|Risk of dying from polio in Ireland in the decade before a vaccine was introduced in 1957||Extremely rare: <1 in 166,667 (0.0006%)|
|Current risk of dying from polio in Ireland||Negligible. Last death 1994|
|RISK FROM POLIO VACCINE|
see section 4 of patient information leaflet for full list of side effects
**Severe allergic reactions can occur to any vaccine but they are very rare and are usually seen in less than 1 in 10,000 people who are vaccinated
|Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine|
(3 doses recommended at 2, 4 & 6 months)
|Risk of bronchitis, lymphadenopathy, bleeding or bruising more easily (thrombocytopenia)||Rare: up to 1 in 1,000 doses (0.1%)|
|Risk of Neuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, encephalopathy, encephalitis, meningitis (causal relationship to the vaccine has not been established)||In extremely rare cases (frequency not defined)|
(1 dose recommended at 4 years)
|Risk of convulsions, lymphadenopathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, shock like state, unresponsive (hypotonic hyporesponsive episodes)||Frequency unknown – cannot be estimated from available data|
Join the parents support group to continue the discussion and learn from the experience of others
Health Freedom Ireland:
Health Freedom Ireland Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine