Polio Vaccine

Number: 0402


Aetna considers polio vaccine a medically necessary preventive service for members according to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP).

The ACIP recommends an injectable polio vaccine (IPV) schedule (as opposed to an oral vaccine schedule) for routine childhood polio vaccination in the United States to eliminate the risk for vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP).  The schedule recommends that all children should receive 4 doses of IPV at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 to18 months, and 4 to 6 years.  They recommend the use of oral polio vaccine (OPV) only for the following special circumstances:

  1. Children of parents who are not willing to have their child have the recommended injectable form of vaccine.  These children may be given OPV only for the 3rd or 4th dose or both.  In this situation, health-care providers should administer OPV only after discussing the risk of VAPP with parents or caregivers; or
  2. Mass vaccination campaigns to control outbreaks of paralytic polio; or
  3. Unvaccinated children who will be traveling in less than 4 weeks to areas where polio is endemic.

Polio vaccine is also recommended for adults (greater than 18 years of age) who are at increased risk of exposure to poliovirus including:

  1. Health-care workers in close contact with individuals who may be excreting wild poliovirusesFootnotes*; or 
  2. Individuals who are members of specific population groups currently supervening an outbreak of polio caused by wild polioviruses; or
  3. Laboratory workers handling specimens which may contain poliovirusesFootnotes*; or
  4. Travelers to areas where poliomyelitis is endemic or epidemicFootnotes*.

For adults at increased risk of exposure to poliomyelitis, primary immunization with IPV is recommended.  The recommended schedule for adults is 2 doses given at 1 to 2 month intervals, and a 3rd dose given 6 to 12 months later.

Footnotes*Note: Some Aetna plans exclude coverage of immunizations required for travel or because of work related risk.  Please check benefit plan descriptions for details.


Poliomyelitis is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the gray matter of the spinal cord.  Infection causes fever, pains, and gastroenteric disturbances in the acute stage, followed by a flaccid paralysis of one or more muscular groups, which is later followed by atrophy.  Since 1979, the only indigenous cases of poliomyelitis reported in the United States have been associated with the use of oral polio vaccine (OPV).  Oral polio vaccine (OPV) can cause polio (1 case per 2.4 million doses distributed) because it contains live, but weakened, virus.  Until recently, the benefits of OPV use (i.e., intestinal immunity, secondary spread) outweighed the risk for vaccine-associated paralytic polio (VAPP).   Widespread childhood vaccination has led to the complete eradication of wild-type poliovirus infection in the United States.

Inactivated poliovirus vaccine may be given concurrently with other vaccines.  If injectable polio vaccine (IPV) and DTaP or DTP are given at the same time, they should be administered in separate syringes because of possible interference.  An investigational, dual-chambered syringe that allows mixing of selective DTP or DTaP and IPV preparations just before injection has been developed.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) updated recommendations for routine poliovirus vaccination (CDC, 2009).  These updates aim to
  1. emphasize the importance of the booster dose at age greater than or equal to 4 years,
  2. extend the minimum interval from dose 3 to dose 4 from 4 weeks to 6 months,
  3. add a precaution for the use of minimum intervals in the first 6 months of life, and
  4. clarify the poliovirus vaccination schedule when specific combination vaccines are used.

Guidelines for preventing infections in hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) recipients by the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research, National Marrow Donor Program, European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease, and the CDC (Ljungman et al, 2009) indicated that oral poliovirus vaccine (live) should not be given to hematopoietic stem cell recipients since an effective, inactivated alternative exists.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (2011) stated that despite marked progress in global polio eradication, the threat of polio importation into the United States remains; therefore, all children should be protected against the disease.  The standard schedule for poliovirus immunization remains 4 doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 through 18 months and 4 through 6 years of age.  The minimum interval between doses 1 and 2 and between doses 2 and 3 is 4 weeks, and the minimum interval between doses 3 and 4 is 6 months.  The minimum age for dose 1 is 6 weeks.  Minimal age and intervals should be used when there is imminent threat of exposure, such as travel to an area in which polio is endemic or epidemic.  The final dose in the inactivated poliovirus vaccine series should be administered at 4 through 6 years of age, regardless of the previous number of doses administered before the 4th birthday, and at least 6 months since the last dose was received.

Nelson et al (2012) stated that OPV will likely be insufficient to completely eradicate polio due to its propensity to mutate into neurovirulent forms and its inability to produce adequate immunity in certain areas of the world.  Inactivated polio vaccine, a killed vaccine that therefore cannot mutate, may be more effective than OPV in certain populations, and will likely be required for global polio eradication.  However, the high cost of inactivated polio vaccine is prohibitive in many areas of the world.  Intradermal administration has the potential to lower the dose, and thus the cost, of inactivated polio vaccine.  These investigators reviewed the clinical studies to date on intradermal fractional dose polio vaccination.  They concluded that intradermal IPV vaccination shows potential as a means to reduce the cost and increase the ease of administration of inactivated polio vaccine, but that additional research is needed to determine the optimal fractional dose, timing, and role of adjuvants in intradermal inactivated polio vaccine vaccination as well as the clinical significance of different antibody titers above the threshold for sero-conversion.

Table: CPT Codes / HCPCS Codes / ICD-10 Codes
Code Code Description

Information in the [brackets] below has been added for clarification purposes.   Codes requiring a 7th character are represented by "+":

CPT codes covered if selection criteria are met:

90698 Diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, acellular pertussis vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and inactivated poliovirus vaccine (DTaP-IPV/Hib), for intramuscular use
90713 Poliovirus vaccine, inactivated, (IPV), for subcutaneous or intramuscular use
90723 Diphtheria, tetanus toxoids, acellular pertussis vaccine, hepatitis B, and inactivated poliovirus vaccine (DTaP-HepB-IPV), for intramuscular use

ICD-10 codes covered if selection criteria are met:

Z20.89 Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other communicable diseases [poliomyelitis]
Z23 Encounter for immunization [DTP + polio]

The above policy is based on the following references:

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. Poliovirus. Pediatrics. 2011;128(4):805-808.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Infectious Diseases. Prevention of poliomyelitis: Recommendations for use of only inactivated poliovirus vaccine for routine immunization. Pediatrics. 1999;104(6):1404-1406.
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Infectious Diseases. 2003 Red Book: Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 26th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2003.
  4. Asturias EJ, Bandyopadhyay AS, Self S, et al; Latin American IPV001BMG Study Group. Humoral and intestinal immunity induced by new schedules of bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine and one or two doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine in Latin American infants: An open-label randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2016;388(10040):158-169.
  5. Atkinson WL, Pickering LK, Schwartz B, et al. General recommendations on immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2002;51(RR-2):1-35.
  6. Benn CS, Fisker AB, Whittle HC, Aaby P. Revaccination with live attenuated vaccines confer additional beneficial nonspecific effects on overall survival: A review. EBioMedicine. 2016;10:312-317.
  7. Black S, Friedland LR, Ensor K, et al. Diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis and inactivated poliovirus vaccines given separately or combined for booster dosing at 4-6 years of age. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2008;27(4):341-346.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Infectious Diseases, National Immunization Program. Poliomyelitis. In: Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. The Pink Book. Waldorf, MD: The Public Health Foundation; April 2002; Ch. 7: 71-82.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices: Revised recommendations for routine poliomyelitis vaccination. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1999;48(27):590.
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Updated recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding routine poliovirus vaccination. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009;58(30):829-830.
  11. Chumakov K, Ehrenfeld E, Wimmer E, Agol VI. Vaccination against polio should not be stopped. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2007;5(12):952-958.
  12. Church JA, Parker EP, Kirkpatrick BD, et al. Interventions to improve oral vaccine performance: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019;19(2):203-214. 
  13. Ciapponi A, Bardach A, Rey Ares L, et al. Sequential inactivated (IPV) and live oral (OPV) poliovirus vaccines for preventing poliomyelitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;12:CD011260.
  14. Eckerle I, Rosenberger KD, Zwahlen M, Junghanss T. Serologic vaccination response after solid organ transplantation: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56974.
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  16. Grassly NC. Immunogenicity and effectiveness of routine immunization with 1 or 2 doses of inactivated poliovirus vaccine: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Infect Dis. 2014;210 Suppl 1:S439-S446.
  17. Grimprel E, von Sonnenburg F, Sanger R, et al. Combined reduced-antigen-content diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis and polio vaccine (dTpa-IPV) for booster vaccination of adults. Vaccine. 2005;23(28):3657-3667.
  18. Jaiswal N, Singh S, Agarwal A, et al. Equivalent schedules of intradermal fractional dose versus intramuscular full dose of inactivated polio vaccine for prevention of poliomyelitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;12:CD011780.
  19. Khan MM, Ehreth J. Costs and benefits of polio eradication: A long-run global perspective. Vaccine. 2003;21(7-8):702-705.
  20. Kouiavskaia D, Mirochnitchenko O, Dragunsky E, et al. Intradermal inactivated poliovirus vaccine: A preclinical dose-finding study. J Infect Dis. 2015;211(9):1447-1450.
  21. Kraan H, van der Stel W, Kersten G, Amorij JP. Alternative administration routes and delivery technologies for polio vaccines. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2016;15(8):1029-1040.
  22. Ljungman P, Cordonnier C, Einsele H, et al. Vaccination of hematopoietic cell transplant recipients. Bone Marrow Transplant. 2009;44(8):521-526.
  23. Machado CM. Reimmunization after bone marrow transplantation--current recommendations and perspectives. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2004;37(1):151-158.
  24. Nelson KS, Janssen JM, Troy SB, Maldonado Y. Intradermal fractional dose inactivated polio vaccine: A review of the literature. Vaccine. 2012;30(2):121-125.
  25. Patel SR, Ortin M, Cohen BJ, et al. Revaccination of children after completion of standard chemotherapy for acute leukemia. Clin Infect Dis. 2007;44(5):635-642.
  26. Resik S, Tejeda A, Sutter RW, et al. Priming after a fractional dose of inactivated poliovirus vaccine. N Engl J Med. 2013;368(5):416-424.
  27. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. Report of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins; 1996.
  28. Vergara R, Tregnaghi M, Ussher J, et al. Reduced-antigen-content-diphtheria-tetanus-acellular-pertussis and inactivated polio vaccine as a booster for adolescents 10 to 14 years of age. Eur J Pediatr. 2005;164(6):377-382.
  29. Walker EJ, MacDonald NE, Islam N, et al. Completeness and timeliness of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, measles-mumps-rubella, and polio vaccines in young children with chronic health conditions: A systematic review. Vaccine. 2019;37(13):1725-1735.
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