Polio Vaccine Is a Four-Shot Series, Contrary to Greene Comments


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it “recommends that children get four doses of polio vaccine,” with the last dose given between ages 4 and 6. But Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, when speaking against a potential fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, wrongly suggested that the CDC doesn’t recommend four shots of the polio vaccine.

Speaking from the House floor on March 17, Greene, a Republican lawmaker from Georgia, said that Dr. Anthony Faucidirector of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, was “recommending a fourth COVID vaccine shot.” She continued: “Now, I don’t know about you guys but many of us were vaccinated as kids against polio, we had our MMR, and I have never seen the CDC coming out saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got to get your second polio shot, you’ve got to get your third, you’ve got to get your fourth.’ And this may continue to keep going. I think the question we all should ask is, ‘When does it stop? And when are enough vaccines enough?’” 

To be clear, the CDC has not yet recommended a fourth COVID-19 mRNA vaccine shot to the general public — it only has done so for those who are “moderately or severely immunocompromised.”

But, in fact, the CDC does say you should get a second, third and fourth polio shot as a child.

On its website, the CDC says: “CDC recommends that children get polio vaccine to protect against polio, or poliomyelitis. Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the United States since 2000. IPV is given by shot in the leg or arm, depending on the patient’s age. … CDC recommends that children get four doses of polio vaccine. They should get one dose at each of the following ages: 2 months old, 4 months old, 6 through 18 months old, and 4 through 6 years old.”

The agency recommends an accelerated schedule for kids who wouldn’t be able to finish the series before traveling to a country with a greater risk of polio than the U.S.

Adults who have never been vaccinated against polio and who are at higher risk of getting the disease due to their work or travel should get three doses, the CDC says.

As for a potential fourth dose of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, Fauci said on March 17 that the vulnerable may need that dose at some point due to waning vaccine immunity over time. Bloomberg News reported that Fauci told House Democrats: “‘I would project that sooner or later, we will need a fourth,’ though perhaps only for the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, at least at first.”

Editor’s note: SciCheck’s COVID-19/Vaccination Project is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The foundation has no control over FactCheck.org’s editorial decisions, and the views expressed in our articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the foundation. The goal of the project is to increase exposure to accurate information about COVID-19 and vaccines, while decreasing the impact of misinformation.

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