Rabies Vaccine for Humans

You’ve been bitten or scratched by an animal.
What should you do?

  • Wash the bite or scratch with soap and water as soon as it happens. 
  • Talk to your doctor about the bite or scratch. Your doctor will ask you questions about the animal and how it happened. The doctor will report the incident to public health.
  • If the doctor wants you to have treatment, he or she will call the Health Unit to get the vaccine. The vaccine does not cost you any money.
  • The vaccine will be delivered to the doctor’s office.  The doctor will arrange with you when to come to get the vaccines. The vaccines are given by needle.

What is the Rabies Vaccine?

Two vaccines are given to prevent you from getting rabies:

  1. The first vaccine gives you immediate protection against rabies. It is called human rabies immune globulin, or RabIG for short. The RabIG is given by needle. You get this vaccine on the first visit only.
  2. The second vaccine is called Rabies Human Diploid Cell Vaccine or HDCV for short. It boosts your body to fight the rabies virus over time.  The HDVC is given by needle on 4 different days: Day 0 (this is the first needle), then Day 3, Day 7, Day 14.

Please note: If you have never been vaccinated against rabies and

  • have an illness or take medicine that has weakened you immune system; or
  • take chloroquine or antimalarials:

 You will get one more dose of the HDVC. You get this fifth dose on Day 28.

Do you want or need to get the Rabies Vaccine and have not been bitten or scratched?

People who work with animals need to be vaccinated against rabies. Public Health does not cover the cost or supply the vaccine for this purpose.

  • The Rabies Vaccine for humans is available at Southwestern Public Health. Speak to an Immunization Nurse to arrange for an appointment: 1-800-922-0096.
  • The Rabies Vaccine can be ordered by your doctor and bought from a local pharmacy.
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