Which polio vaccine do we use in the United States today?

I am doing a project on Jonas Salk and I was confused about which polio vaccine we use in the United States. Do we use Albert Sabin's vaccine or do we use Jonas Salk's vaccine? Did Albert Sabin's "live" virus vaccine infect people with polio instead of immunizing them? What were Jonas Salks' political ideologies and world views?

1 Answer

  • 10 years ago
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    -Gabrielle, Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which is given as a shot, is now used in the United States. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) has not been used in the United States since 2000 but is still used in many parts of the world. Most people should get polio vaccine when they are children. Children get 4 doses of IPV, at these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and a booster dose at 4-6 years. Most adults do not need polio vaccine because they were vaccinated as children. But, in general, three groups of adults are at higher risk for coming into contact with polio virus and should consider polio vaccination:

    people traveling to areas of the world where polio is common, laboratory workers who might handle polio virus, and healthcare workers treating patients who could have polio.

    Dr. Jonas Salk had begun his medical research career studying immunology. In Salk needed to find a way to process the viruses so that they were less infectious, before using them in a vaccine. In 1952, Salk was the first to develop a successful vaccine using a mixture of the three types of virus, grown in monkey kidney cultures. He developed a process using formalin, a chemical that inactivated the whole virus. But, there was a problem with the original Salk vaccine. The vaccine actually induced 260 cases of poliomyelitis, including 10 deaths. The problem was traced to incomplete inactivation of some virus particles, which was soon corrected. Since then the vaccine has been highly effective, with a 70 - 90% protection rate. In 1957, in an effort to improve upon the killed Salk vaccine, Albert Bruce Sabin began testing a live, oral form of vaccine in which the infectious part of the virus was inactivated (attenuated). This vaccine became available for use in 1963. Both vaccines are currently in use throughout the world. In the United States, the Sabin vaccine is used almost exclusively. In other countries, the Salk vaccine is preferred. Research continues to improve these vaccines. More effective culturing and purification techniques have been developed, allowing the vaccines to induce higher levels of antibody formation.

    I shall leave discussion of ideologies to others. I hope this Information will be of help in your research.

    Recommendations for polio vaccine in the United States are available at:

    www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr4905a1.htm or


    Source(s): Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
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