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 ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine