Preventive Vaccination (Preexposure Prophylaxis) for Rabies

A preventive vaccine for rabies is given in three shots over 21 days. Preexposure vaccination does not get rid of the need for treatment after you are exposed to rabies. But treatment after exposure is simpler and shorter if you had a vaccine before you were exposed to rabies.

Booster shots are an option if your job or hobby involves continued exposure to the virus. But the risk of allergic reaction to the vaccine increases with each dose. So a booster shot should be given only when the antibody level from the previous vaccine drops below an acceptable level. You can have a lab test that measures the level of rabies antibodies in your system. The test is performed every 6 months to 2 years, depending on risk.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014