Generic Name: rabies vaccine, purified chick embryo cell (RAY beez vax EEN, PYUR if eyed CHIK EM bree o sel)
Brand Name: RabAvert
What is rabies vaccine?
Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus. Rabies is mainly a disease of animals. Humans get rabies when they are bitten by an infected animal. There may be no symptoms at first, but weeks or even years after a bite from an infected animal, rabies can cause pain, fatigue, headaches, irritability, fever, seizures, hallucinations, and paralysis. Rabies can be fatal.
You are more likely to be exposed to the rabies virus if you are a veterinarian, animal handler, rabies laboratory worker, or may otherwise come into contact with animals that could possibly carry the virus (including cats, dogs, foxes, skunks, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, and bats). Travel to certain countries may also increase your risk of exposure to rabies.
Rabies purified chick embryo cell vaccine is used to prevent rabies in people who have been bitten by an animal or otherwise exposed to the rabies virus.
What is the most important information I should know about rabies vaccine?
Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive another vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Getting rabies disease is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects. The risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
You can still receive a rabies vaccine if you have a cold or other minor illness. If you have a more severe illness with a fever, wait until you recover before receiving this vaccine. However, if you have been bitten by an infected animal or otherwise exposed to the rabies virus, you should receive the rabies vaccine regardless of having another illness.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving rabies vaccine?Do not receive this vaccine if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a rabies vaccine.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely receive this vaccine:
any type of infection or severe illness;
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection;
a weak immune system caused by disease or by taking certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments;
if you are taking medicine to treat or prevent malaria; or
if you are allergic to pork or chicken.
You can still receive a rabies vaccine if you have a cold or other minor illness. If you have a more severe illness with a fever, wait until you recover before receiving this vaccine. However, if you have been bitten by an infected animal or otherwise exposed to the rabies virus, you should receive the rabies vaccine regardless of having another illness.FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this vaccine is harmful to an unborn baby. Before you receive a rabies vaccine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether rabies vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Rabies vaccine purified chick embryo cell (Rabavert) contains a small amount of albumin from human blood and may contain viruses and other infectious agents that can cause disease. Although donated human blood is screened, tested, and treated to reduce the risk of it containing anything that could cause disease, there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of receiving this vaccine.
How is rabies vaccine given?
Rabies purified chick embryo cell vaccine is given as an injection into a muscle. You will receive this injection in your doctor's office or other clinic setting. A doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection.
For preventing rabies if you are at risk of exposure, you will need to receive a total of 3 injections. The second injection is usually given 7 days after the first, followed by a third injection 2 or 3 weeks later.
Depending on your risk of exposure to rabies, you may need to receive the rabies vaccine series every 2 years. If you work around live rabies virus, such as in a laboratory or a vaccine production area, you may need to receive a booster rabies vaccine every 6 months.
For treating rabies after you have been bitten or exposed, you will need to receive a total of 5 injections. The injections are usually given on Days 0, 3, 7, 14, and 28. At the beginning of your treatment you may also receive a second injection with an immune globulin (im-YOON GLOB-yoo-lin). This medicine is sometimes injected into or near the bite wound or injury where the rabies virus is likely to have entered your body.Follow your doctor's instructions for your injection schedule.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Contact your doctor if you will miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.
Be sure to receive all doses of this vaccine recommended by your healthcare provider or by the health department of the state where you live. If you do not receive the full series of vaccines, you may not be fully protected against the disease.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of rabies vaccine is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid before or after getting rabies vaccine?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity after you receive rabies vaccine.
Rabies vaccine side effects
Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive another vaccine in the future, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Getting rabies disease is much more dangerous to your health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects. The risk of serious side effects is extremely low.Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
fever, chills, weakness, body aches, flu symptoms;
severe headache, problems with your vision;
numbness or tingly feeling;
swollen lymph glands; or
Less serious side effects may include:
pain, swelling, itching, or redness where the shot was given;
increased heart rate;
muscle pain; or
nausea, stomach pain.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect rabies vaccine?
Before receiving this vaccine, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:
chemotherapy or radiation cancer treatments;
cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf);
sirolimus (Rapamune), tacrolimus (Prograf);
basiliximab (Simulect), efalizumab (Raptiva), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone);
mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept);
azathioprine (Imuran), leflunomide (Arava), etanercept (Enbrel);
a steroid medicine such as betamethasone (Celestone), cortisone (Cortone), dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), hydrocortisone (Cortef, Hydrocortone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisolone (Prelone, Pediapred), prednisone (Orasone, Deltasone, others), or triamcinolone (Aristocort); or
an inhaled or nasal steroid such as beclomethasone (Qvar, Beclovent, Beconase, Vanceril, Vancenase), budesonide (Pulmicort, Rhinocort), flunisolide (Aerobid, Nasalide, Nasarel), fluticasone (Flovent, Flonase), mometasone (Nasonex), or triamcinolone (Azmacort, Nasacort).
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with rabies vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, and other vaccines you receive. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist may have information about this vaccine written for health professionals that you may read. You may also find additional information from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.