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Polio Vaccine Policy Changed

Fri., Jan. 24, 1997

Starting this month, children should get their polio vaccines in a combination of shots and sugar cubes, the government said Thursday.

The policy, approved in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the first major change since 1961 in the way the vaccine has been administered.

It says infants should be injected with a vaccine made from killed polio virus twice within their first four months, followed by two oral doses of weakened, live virus between ages 1 and 6.

Most children now get three doses of oral vaccine by age 2, but a CDC advisory panel in June urged the change because the oral vaccine causes eight to 10 polio cases a year, mostly among children.

The policy, which is only a recommendation for doctors, was delayed until this month so parents had enough time to learn about the changes and to give manufacturers time to stock up.

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