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Birdsfoot Lane Pharmacy - Your health is our priority

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).

Who should have the Rabies Vaccine?

You should consider getting vaccinated against rabies if:

you're travelling to an area where rabies is common and you plan to stay for a month or more or there's unlikely to be quick access to appropriate medical care

you're travelling to an area where rabies is common and you plan to do activities that could put you at increased risk of exposure to animals with rabies, such as running or cycling

It takes three to four weeks to complete the vaccine course, so you ideally need to start it at least a month before you plan to leave.

Pregnant women are advised to have the rabies vaccine if the risk of exposure to rabies is thought to be high and there's limited access to medical care.

People at risk through their work
Vaccination is also recommended for anyone at risk of being exposed to rabies through their job, such as:
people who regularly handle bats
people who handle imported animals – such as workers at zoos or animal quarantine centres
laboratory workers who handle rabies samples
If you think this applies to you, speak to your occupational health department.

Where to get the Rabies Vaccine in Luton?

Birdsfoot Lane Pharmacy will be able to provide you with the neccesary vaccination.

Will I have to pay for the Rabies Vaccine?

You will usually have to pay for the rabies vaccine if you need it for protection while travelling.

The vaccine involves three doses

How the Rabies Vaccine is given?

The rabies vaccination is given as injections into your upper arm.

You'll need three doses of the vaccine. The second dose is given seven days after the first. The third dose is given 14 or 21 days after the second.

If you're planning to travel to an area where rabies is found, you should complete the full course of three doses before your departure.

Rabies Booster doses
If you've been vaccinated against rabies before but you continue to be at risk (for example, through your job), you may need further "booster" doses to ensure you stay protected.

Speak to our Pharmacist about this.

For travellers, a booster dose may be considered if you were first vaccinated 10 or more years ago and you're travelling to a high-risk area again.

Opening Times
Mon: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tue: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Wed: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Thur: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Fri: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Sat: Closed

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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