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The Rabies Vaccine (cont.)

Tell your doctor if...

Talk with a doctor before getting rabies vaccine if you:

  1. Ever had a serious (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose of rabies vaccine, or to any component of the vaccine; tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies,
  2. Have a weakened immune system because of:
    - HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
    - Treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids,
    - Cancer, or cancer treatment with radiation or drugs.

If you have a minor illnesses, such as a cold, you can be vaccinated. If you are moderately or severely ill, you should probably wait until you recover before getting a routine (non-exposure) dose of rabies vaccine.

If you have been exposed to rabies virus, you should get the vaccine regardless of any other illnesses you may have.

What are the risks from rabies vaccine?

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. Serious problems from rabies vaccine are very rare.

Mild Problems

Moderate Problems

  • hives, pain in the joints, fever (about 6% of booster doses)
Other nervous system disorders, such as Guillain Barré syndrome (GBS), have been reported after rabies vaccine, but this happens so rarely that it is not known whether they are related to the vaccine.

NOTE: Several brands of rabies vaccine are available in the United States, and reactions may vary between brands. Your provider can give you more information about a particular brand.



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