Rabies vaccine (human)
If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, you may have been informed by your doctor that you are to receive rabies vaccine. If you have been exposed to the rabies virus, it is very important that you receive post-exposure rabies treatment.
Post-exposure rabies treatment includes the following:
- Rabies Vaccine
- Rabies Immune Globulin (RabIg)
Vaccination schedule for healthy individuals
The full series of treatment will consist of four vaccinations over a 14 day period. The schedule to receive the vaccinations will be day 0 (the day of the bite / scratch incident), day 3, day 7, and day 14.
Pre-exposure rabies vaccine
Rabies is found on all continents except Antarctica. In most countries, the risk of rabies exposure is an encounter with an animal. Certain areas of the world still have a major problem with rabies in dogs. Pre-exposure rabies vaccines are recommended to certain groups of people to prevent them from getting rabies.
Who should get pre-exposure rabies vaccine?
As outlined by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, pre-exposure rabies vaccination is usually recommended for those who do certain kinds of work or activities with a high risk of rabies exposure, such as:
- lab workers who regularly handle rabies specimens
- hunters and trappers in high-risk areas
- animal control and wildlife workers
- spelunkers (cave explorers)
- travellers in areas of high rabies activity where there is limited access to post-exposure treatment
Where do I go to receive pre-exposure rabies vaccine?
A health care provider will provide you with a prescription for the vaccine. The prescription must be filled by a pharmacist. The vaccine is then taken to the health care provider who will administer the vaccine as per the schedule outlined in the Canadian Immunization Guide.
Which countries are currently free from rabies?
To see which countries are currently free from rabies, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s web page on Countries Recognized as Rabies Free for Domestic Cats and Dogs.
If I am travelling, how can I find out if I should get the pre-exposure rabies vaccine before my trip?
If you are planning a trip, please consult your health care provider.
This item was last modified on February 25, 2020