The Rabies Vaccine (cont.)
In this Article
- What is rabies?
- The rabies vaccine
- Who should get the rabies vaccine and when?
- Tell your doctor if...
- What are the risks from the rabies vaccine?
- What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?
- What is the national vaccine injury compensation program?
- How can I learn more?
Tell your doctor if...
Talk with a doctor before getting rabies vaccine if you:
- 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,
- 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.
- soreness, redness, swelling, or itching where the shot was given (30% - 74%)
- headache, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches, dizziness (5% - 40%)
- hives, pain in the joints, fever (about 6% of booster doses)
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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