The rabies vaccine is to prevent rabies either before or after exposure to this deadly disease occurs. Most people aren’t that familiar with the vaccination because it’s not recommended for the majority of folks. It doesn’t appear on vaccination schedules for kids since the risk of getting rabies is relatively low. Instead it’s only given if a person has been exposed to rabies or if a person is likely to be at risk for exposure, as through occupational hazards like working with animals.
There is a number of people who might get a rabies vaccine because of frequent animal exposure that might involve exposure to rabid animals. Veterinarians may have this vaccination, as could some exterminators. Animal cops or animal shelter workers could get it too. People might require it if they work in zoos, circuses, or locations where animals cared for or handled run the risk of being rabid.
Most other people would only get a rabies vaccine if they’d been bitten by or exposed to an animal that could carry rabies. Ironically those who’ve been vaccinated in the past usually need additional shots at this time, too. People without previous vaccination may receive up to five shots in a fourteen-day period, the first preferably given as soon after a bite or contact with a rabid animal occurs. Those who have had the rabies vaccine might only receive three shots or fewer.
Depending on the country, there can be different types of rabies vaccine available. Most developed countries have two inactivated virus vaccines and one may be more appropriate than another depending on circumstances. Some countries still use riskier vaccination made with live virus, but this is more rare. Using a dead virus assures that it is impossible to contract rabies from a vaccination.
Another type of rabies vaccine exists for animals. Household pets are frequently given a vaccination and need regular booster shots in order to remain protected. One of the ways humans may get exposure to rabies is if an unvaccinated pet is exposed. For human health, it makes sense to vaccinate pets.
Rabies doesn’t have to come from the bite of an animal. Sometimes saliva exposure is enough to cause this deadly disease. One of the most likely rabies exposure scenarios is when people get exposed to sick bats, which they may handle. People who think they have been exposed to a sick animal, even they’ve not received a bite, should contact their doctors immediately, because post exposure vaccination works best if the first shot is given right away.
Reactions to human rabies vaccine are varied. The shot site, which might be at the shoulder or thigh, can feel a little sore or red. Some people have headaches, muscle aches or fever, and a few people report an upset stomach. In general, side effects are not severe, and most people receiving these shots most complain the number of shots and discomfort of the skin or muscle where the vaccine was injected.