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Rabies vaccination

What the rabies vaccine is for

The rabies vaccine helps reduce your risk of getting rabies.

Rabies is:

• a rare but very serious infection that affects the brain and nerves

• almost always fatal once symptoms appear

• usually caught from the bite or scratch of an infected animal, most often a dog

found throughout the world, particularly in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America (in the UK, it’s only found in a small number of wild bats)

The rabies vaccine is used to help prevent rabies and to help stop you getting symptoms if there’s a chance you’ve been exposed to rabies.

Who should have the rabies vaccine

The rabies vaccine is not routinely given as part of the NHS vaccination schedule.

It’s only recommended for people at risk of getting rabies


You should get the rabies vaccine if you’re travelling to a part of the world where rabies is common, especially if:

you’re going somewhere where it may be hard to get medical help quickly

you might come into contact with infected animals (for example, you’ll be doing lots of outdoor activities like cycling or running)

you’re staying for over a month

Get advice from a travel clinic if you’re not sure if you need the rabies vaccine for travel.

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