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Polio vaccination (Salk)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Unlike the Sabin polio vaccine, the Salk vaccine contains a killed, inactive agent (remembered for exams as salK where the 'k' is for killed vaccine).

In the UK, the use of oral Salk vaccine has been replaced by inactivated vaccine as part of combined preparations:

  • combined vaccine - diphtheria, tetanus, acelular pertussis, inactivated polio and haemophilus inflenzae type B (DTaP/IPV/Hib)
    • administered at two, three and four months old as part of the childhood immunisation schedule
  • combined vaccine - diphtheria, tetanus, acelular pertussis, inactivated polio vaccine (dTaP/IPV)
    • administered as part of the pre-school booster
  • diphtheria, tetanus and inactivated polio vaccine (Td/IPV)
    • recommended for boosting teenagers aged 13 to 18 years old
    • can also be used for primary immunisation in unvaccinated individuals aged 10 years and over
    • in consideration of travel vaccination - where tetanus, diphtheria or polio protection is required and the final dose of the relevant antigen was received more than ten years ago, Td/IPV should be given (2)


  1. Department of Health (August 10th 2004). New vaccinations for the childhood immunisation programme. PL/CMO/2004/3, PL/CNO/2004/2, PL/CPHO/2004/3.
  2. Department of Health (April 2019). Poliomyelitis - Green Book Update.

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