Enhancing protection from poliovirus: Updated polio vaccine recommendations for children new to Canada

Advisory Alert

June 4, 2024

*Cette information est seulement disponible en anglais.

To: Local Health System Partners


Updated provincial polio vaccine recommendations for children previously immunized internationally with oral poliovirus vaccine

The Ministry of Health recently updated its provincial guidance for children who have been previously immunized with oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV).  As OPV has not been recommended for use or available in Canada since 1996, this guidance applies mainly to children who are new to Canada or who have been refugees since 2016. Please assess the immunization records of children presenting to you with international vaccine records and, if necessary, provide them with inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in accordance with age and vaccine history.


In April 2016, the World Health Organization coordinated a global switch for countries who administer the oral polio vaccine. The trivalent OPV which contained poliovirus serotypes 1, 2, and 3 was replaced with the bivalent OPV, which contains types 1 and 3 only. Although wild poliovirus type 2 was eradicated in 2015, circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 has increased greatly in incidence since then. Polio infection has also been seen recently in North America for the first time in decades. Given that and the increased risk of polio when travelling, it is important to have protection against all 3 poliovirus serotypes.

Recommendation and required actions

It is recommended that children immunized with OPV on or after April 1, 2016, should complete a polio vaccine series with an inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) or an IPV-containing vaccine using an age-appropriate schedule. The provincial guidance aligns with the recently updated guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization as outlined in the Canadian Immunization Guide.

For children presenting to you with international vaccine records please

Those with inadequate immunization records or those lacking documented polio immunization should be started on an age-appropriate immunization schedule with an IPV-containing vaccine. Please refer to the Q&A for Immunizers (PDF) and Public Health Ontario’s Summary of Immunization Recommendations for Children Previously Immunized with Oral Poliovirus Vaccine (PDF) for polio vaccine catch-up schedules in accordance with age and vaccine history.

 Contacting Public Health Sudbury & Districts:


Original Signed By

Mustafa Hirji, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Acting Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer


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This item was last modified on June 4, 2024