Oral and inactivated poliovirus vaccines in the newborn: a review

Vaccine. 2013 May 17;31(21):2517-24. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.06.020. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


Background: Oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) remains the vaccine-of-choice for routine immunization and supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) to eradicate poliomyelitis globally. Recent data from India suggested lower than expected immunogenicity of an OPV birth dose, prompting a review of the immunogenicity of OPV or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) when administered at birth.

Methods: We evaluated the seroconversion and reported adverse events among infants given a single birth dose (given ≤7 days of life) of OPV or IPV through a systematic review of published articles and conference abstracts from 1959 to 2011 in any language found on PubMed, Google Scholar, or reference lists of selected articles.

Results: 25 articles from 13 countries published between 1959 and 2011 documented seroconversion rates in newborns following an OPV dose given within the first seven days of life. There were 10 studies that measured seroconversion rates between 4 and 8 weeks of a single birth dose of TOPV, using an umbilical cord blood draw at the time of birth to establish baseline antibody levels. The percentage of newborns who seroconverted at 8 weeks range from 6-42% for poliovirus type 1, 2-63% for type 2, and 1-35% for type 3. For mOPV type 1, seroconversion ranged from 10 to 76%; mOPV type 3, the range was 12-58%; and for the one study reporting bOPV, it was 20% for type 1 and 7% for type 3. There were four studies of IPV in newborns with a seroconversion rate of 8-100% for serotype 1, 15-100% for serotype 2, and 15-94% for serotype 3, measured at 4-6 weeks of life. No serious adverse events related to newborn OPV or IPV dosing were reported, including no cases of acute flaccid paralysis.

Conclusions: There is great variability of the immunogenicity of a birth dose of OPV for reasons largely unknown. Our review confirms the utility of a birth dose of OPV, particularly in countries where early induction of polio immunity is imperative. IPV has higher seroconversion rates in newborns and may be a superior choice in countries which can afford IPV, but there have been few studies of an IPV dose for newborns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Poliomyelitis / immunology
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control
  • Poliovirus / immunology
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated / administration & dosage
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated / adverse effects
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated / immunology
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral / administration & dosage*
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral / adverse effects
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral / immunology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral