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The Rabies Vaccine (cont.)

The Rabies Vaccine

Rabies vaccine is given to people at high risk of rabies to protect them if they are exposed. It can also prevent the disease if it is given to a person after they have been exposed.

Rabies vaccine is made from killed rabies virus. It cannot cause rabies.

Who Should Get the Rabies Vaccine and When?

Preventive Vaccination (No Exposure)

  • Preventive Vaccination (No Exposure)
  • The vaccine should also be considered for:
    - People whose activities bring them into frequent contact with 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.

The pre-exposure schedule for rabies vaccination is 3 doses, given at the following times:

Dose 1: As appropriate
Dose 2: 7 days after Dose 1
Dose 3: 21 days or 28 days after Dose 1

For laboratory workers and others who may be repeatedly exposed to rabies virus, periodic testing for immunity is recommended, and booster doses should be given as needed. (Testing or booster doses are not recommended for travelers.) Ask your doctor for details.

Vaccination After an Exposure

Anyone who has been bitten by an animal, or who otherwise may have been exposed to rabies, should clean the wound and see a doctor immediately. The doctor will determine if they need to be vaccinated.

A person who is exposed and has never been vaccinated against rabies should get 4 doses of rabies vaccine - one dose right away, and additional doses on the 3rd, 7th, and 14th days. They should also get another shot called Rabies Immune Globulin at the same time as the first dose.

A person who has been previously vaccinated should get 2 doses of rabies vaccine - one right away and another on the 3rd day. Rabies Immune Globulin is not needed.



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