Rabies vaccination is an active immunizing agent used to avoid rabies virus infection. The vaccine works by inducing your body’s defenses (antibodies) against the infectious agent. The rabies vaccine has two applications. It is given to people who have been exposed to an animal that has rabies (for example, through a bite, scratch, or lick). 

This is referred to as post-exposure prophylaxis. The rabies vaccine might also be given to people at high risk of contracting the rabies virus.

Why Should You Get Rabies Vaccination?

Rabies vaccination can protect against the disease. Rabies is a deadly disease that almost always kills. The rabies virus infects the nervous system. Signs such as delirium, unusual behavior, paranoid delusions, hydrophobia, and sleeplessness can occur days to years after exposure and initiate coma and death.

People can contract rabies if they are exposed to the saliva or neural tissue of an infectious agent, such as through a scratch or bite, and do not obtain prompt medical attention, including rabies vaccination.

Who Should Be Vaccinated?

Some people who are at a higher risk of rabies exposure, including those who work with possibly infectious animals, are advised to get vaccinated to help prevent rabies if they are exposed. If you are more likely to be exposed to the rabies virus:

  • On days 0 and 7, you should obtain two doses of the rabies vaccine.
  • Based on your risk level, you may be recommended to have one or more blood tests or obtain a booster dose within three years of the first two doses. 

If administered to an individual after exposure, the rabies vaccine can help deter rabies. Following rabies exposure or possible rabies exposure, the wound location must be properly cleaned with both soap and water.

If your doctor or the local health authority recommends vaccination, it must be provided as soon as possible after an exposure, but it may be useful at any time before signs appear. Once symptoms appear, the rabies vaccination is no longer effective in preventing rabies.

Related Articles


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Nystagmus benign paroxysmal positional is the most common cause of vertigo [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Noninfectious uveitis is when one or both of your eyes experience [...]


Overview and FactsTypes and SymptomsDiagnosis & MedicationsOverview and Facts Necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum is an uncommon, potentially fatal bacterial [...]