Rabies Vaccine

What does the rabies vaccine do?

The rabies vaccine is given to people who are considered to be at high risk of rabies and protects them if they are exposed. The rabies vaccine can also prevent the disease from progressing if an individual has already been exposed.

How many doses will I need?

The pre-exposure rabies vaccine is given in three doses. The first dose will be provided as needed, the second is provided seven days after dose one, and the third is provided 21 to 28 days after dose one. Periodic testing is recommended for laboratory workers and others who may be repeatedly exposed to the rabies virus — with booster doses supplied as needed. Ask your ID Care specialist for details.

Who is the rabies vaccine recommended for?

  • People at high risk of exposure to rabies, such as veterinarians, animal handlers, rabies laboratory workers, spelunkers, and rabies biologics production
  • People whose activities may bring them into frequent contact with the rabies virus or with possibly rabid animals
  • International travelers who are likely to come in contact with animals in parts of the world where rabies is common

Are there any potential side effects or risks of the rabies vaccine?

Serious problems from the rabies vaccine are infrequent. There are very mild side effects associated with the rabies vaccine including soreness, redness, swelling, or itching where the shot was given. A headache, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, dizziness, hives, pain in the joints, and fever occur in very few individuals. It’s important to remember that vaccines, like any medicines, are capable of causing severe health issues such as severe allergic reactions. However, the risk of vaccines causing serious harm or death is extremely small.