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Rabies Vaccination

Rabies is an acute viral infection that causes inflammation of the spinal cord and the brain (encephalomyelitis). It is usually spread through an infected bite or scratch from a rabid animal, most commonly through a dog bite. In other parts of the world other animals such as bats, monkeys and cats are a source of potential exposure to the disease. Very rarely, the disease has been spread through body fluids and transplant tissues.

Rabies is found in all continents of the world except Antarctica. Bats in all countries are considered to be a rabies risk. Most human cases of rabies occur in Asia, Africa and South and Latin America.


Age of Use

2+ months

Doses Required



0, 7, 21 days

Time before Travel

Last dose up to day before*

Booster Required

1-10 years depending on risk


*Vaccines work best if given time to become active. This vaccine can be given up to the day before travel and will provide some cover

When is rabies vaccine (pre-exposure) indicated?

The following travellers should be offered pre-exposure immunization against rabies:

  • People living in, or travelling for more than 1 month to, rabies-enzootic areas (e.g. jungle habitat) where there is no access to reliable, prompt, safe medical care.
  • People travelling for less than 1 month to enzootic areas but who may be exposed to rabies because of their activities, or those who would have limited access to post-exposure medical care.
  • People who are working abroad with, or in close contact with, animals (e.g. veterinarians, zoologists).

When is rabies vaccine contraindicated?

Pre-exposure rabies vaccine should not be given to those who have:

  • A current febrile illness.
  • Had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of rabies vaccine.
  • Had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction to neomycin which is present in trace amounts.
  • Had a confirmed anaphylaxis to egg protein which is present in trace amounts in Rabipur®.

There are no absolute contraindications to post-exposure rabies vaccine. If a hypersensitivity reaction occurs after a dose of a pre-exposure course, post-exposure vaccination should still be given if indicated. The risks of rabies outweigh the risks of hypersensitivity. When a hypersensitivity reaction occurs during post-exposure immunization, further doses should be given under close medical supervision.

What are the adverse effects of rabies vaccine?

Local reactions may occur — such as redness, swelling, or pain at the site of injection — within 24–48 hours of administration. Systemic reactions such as headache, fever, muscle aches, vomiting, and urticarial rashes are rare.

Delayed hypersensitivity reactions have been reported from the USA. Reactions may become more severe with repeated doses.
Extremely rarely neurological conditions, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome have been reported (a causal association with vaccination is not established).
Opening Times
Mon: 9:00am - 6:30pm

Tue: 9:00am - 6:30pm

Wed: 9:00am - 6:30pm

Thur: 9:00am - 6:30pm

Fri: 9:00am - 6:30pm

Sat: 9:00am - 1:00pm

Sun: Closed

Contact us
t: 01582 591 616
Birdsfoot Lane Pharmacy
255 Birdsfoot Lane, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU3 2HX
Superintendent Pharmacist : Mr Rupesh Shah
GPhC Pharmacist Reg No. : 2048914
GPhC Premises Reg No. : 1028845
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