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Adacel®Polio Vaccine

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(Pertussis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Polio)

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against some very serious infections. The Canadian Paediatric Society and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly recommends routine immunization. Adacel®Polio is a four-in-one needle. It protects against pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus and polio. It is recommended for use in persons 4 years of age and over.

What is Pertussis? Diphtheria? Tetanus? Polio?

Pertussis or whooping cough is a serious disease especially in children. Children who get this disease have spells of violent coughing. This cough can cause them to vomit or stop breathing for a short period of time. The cough can last for weeks and make it hard for a child to eat, drink or even breathe. Pertussis can cause serious complications. Pneumonia can occur in more than two out of 10 children with pertussis. It can also cause brain damage and death. These problems happen most often in babies. Pertussis spreads very easily from infected person to others through coughing or sneezing.

Diphtheria is a serious disease of the nose, throat and skin. It causes sore throat, fever and chills. It can be complicated by breathing problems, heart failure and nerve damage. Diphtheria kills 1 out of every 10 people who get the disease. It is passed to others through coughing and sneezing.

Tetanus or lockjaw is a serious disease that can happen if dirt with the tetanus germ gets into a cut in the skin. Tetanus germs are found in everything, usually in soil, dust, and manure. It does not spread from person to person. Tetanus causes cramping of the muscles in the neck, arms, legs and stomach, and painful convulsions which can be severe enough to break bones. Even with early treatment, tetanus kills two out of every 10 people who get it.

Polio is a dangerous disease that people can get from drinking water or eating food with the polio germ in it. This disease can cause nerve damage and paralyze a person for life. It can paralyze muscles use for breathing, talking, eating and walking. It can also cause death.

How well does the vaccine protect my child?

When the vaccine is given in the recommended number of shots, it protects 85% of children against pertussis, over 85% of children against diphtheria, over 95% of children against tetanus and 99% of children against polio. Vaccination also makes these diseases milder for those who may catch them.

At what age should my child be vaccinated with the vaccine?

It depends at what age your child started his/her immunizations. Adacel®Polio may be given to children 4 years of age and older as a booster vaccine. Before that, your child should have received four needles of the Pediacel (five-in-one) vaccine at two, four, six and 18 months of age the booster is generally given around the time your child starts school.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. Mild pain, swelling and redness for a few days are common at the spot where the needle was given. Some children get a fever, lose their appetite or are fussy or drowsy for a day or two after the needle. These events are usually mild. Your doctor may suggest that you give your child a medicine called acetaminophen after the injection for pain and fever. Since July 1997 only a new acellular pertussis vaccine is used in Canada. Side effects following the acellular vaccine are much less frequent and much less severe than those with the previously used whole cell vaccine. The benefits of this vaccine are much greater than the risks associated with getting the diseases. There is no risk of a pregnant women or anyone else catching any disease from a child who has been vaccinated recently.

When should I call my doctor?

Call your doctor is your child has any of the following within three days of getting the needle:

  • High fever (over 40ºC or 104ºF).
  • Crying for more than three hours.
  • Convulsions or seizures.
  • Very pale colour and serious drowsiness.
  • Hives.
  • Swelling of the face or mouth.
  • Trouble breathing
  • Other serious problems.

Who should not get the vaccine?

The doctor may decide not to give your child’s needle if your child has:

  • A high fever or serious illness
  • A serious nervous system adverse event (Gullain-Barre’ syndrome or brachial neuritis) following a previous tetanus vaccine
  • A progressive nervous system disorder or uncontrolled epilepsy
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers
  • A weakened immune system
  • A bleeding disorder or taking blood-thinning medications

Record of Protection

After your child receives any vaccination, make sure the doctor/nurse updates your copy of the vaccination record card. In addition, please report the vaccination to the Public Health Unit by faxing to 519-426-4764, mailing or submitting online at

For more information, please contact a member of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Team by calling the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623.

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