The rabies vaccine helps protect you against rabies. It's recommended for people at higher risk of rabies from travel or through their work.

What the rabies vaccine is for

The rabies vaccine helps reduce your risk of getting rabies.

Rabies is:

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, including some people travelling abroad and people at risk through their work.

Who cannot have the rabies vaccine

Most people who need it can have the rabies vaccine, including babies and children, and if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a weakened immune system.

You only cannot have the vaccine if you've had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose or to an ingredient in the vaccine.

The rabies vaccine used in the UK contains egg protein. Tell the person vaccinating you if you have a severe egg allergy.


Getting vaccinated if you're unwell

If you have a high temperature or feel too unwell to do your normal activities, wait until you're feeling better before having the rabies vaccine.

Rabies vaccine ingredients

There is 1 type of rabies vaccine used in the UK. You can check the ingredients in the patient leaflet:

Rabipur rabies vaccine patient leaflet (Electronic Medicines Compendium website)

Where to get the rabies vaccine

You usually have to pay for the rabies vaccine for travel.

You can get it from:

It's best to get advice at least 8 weeks before going abroad, as some vaccines (including the rabies vaccine) need to be given several weeks before you travel.

If you need the rabies vaccine because you're at risk through your work, speak to your employer about getting vaccinated.

If you do voluntary work that involves regularly handling wild bats, you may be able to get the rabies vaccine for free on the NHS. Check with your GP surgery.

How the rabies vaccine is given

The rabies vaccine is given as an injection. You usually have 3 doses given over 28 days.

If there's not enough time to have 3 doses in 28 days, they can be given over 21 days or sometimes over 7 days.

Booster doses

Most travellers do not need a booster dose of the rabies vaccine.

But a one-off booster dose may be recommended if you're travelling to a place where rabies is a risk and it's been more than 1 year since you were first vaccinated.

If you're at risk of rabies through your work, you may need a booster after 1 year, followed by regular boosters every few years.


Having the rabies vaccine at the same time as other vaccines

You can have the rabies vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.

How well the rabies vaccine works and how long it lasts

Around 95% of people who have 3 doses of the rabies vaccine will have some protection from rabies.

How long the protection lasts can vary, but it usually lasts at least 1 or 2 years.

People at continued risk of rabies may need 1 or more booster doses of the rabies vaccine to make sure they stay protected.


The rabies vaccine does not fully protect everyone from rabies.

You should get medical help as soon as possible if you think you may have been exposed to rabies, even if you've been vaccinated.

Side effects of the rabies vaccine

Most of the side effects of the rabies vaccine are mild and do not last long.

They can include:

More serious side effects such as a severe allergic reaction are very rare.

The rabies vaccine used in the UK contains a killed (destroyed) version of the rabies virus, so there's no risk of getting rabies from the vaccine.

Page last reviewed: 4 July 2023
Next review due: 4 July 2026