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Rabies Vaccine

Vaccination is the best protection against rabies. Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus found in some animals.

The vaccine

Vaccination is the best protection against rabies. The vaccine is recommended if a person has been bitten by an animal that may have rabies, or who has a wound or mucous membrane that has come into contact with the animal’s saliva. It may also be given to someone who is at risk of being exposed to the rabies virus. Several doses of vaccine are required. It is very important not to miss any of the vaccination appointments in order to ensure maximum effectiveness of the vaccine.

Symptoms after vaccination

Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine (e.g. redness at the injection site). Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine (e.g. cold, gastro, headache).

Rabies vaccine is safe. Most reactions are harmless and do not last long.

Frequency Possible reactions to the vaccine What to do
In most cases
(more than 50% of people)
  • Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Apply a cold, damp compress at the injection site.
  • Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.
  • See a doctor symptoms are severe.
Very often
(less than 50% of people)
  • Nausea, muscle soreness, dizziness
Often
(less than 10% of people)
  • Itching at the injection site
  • Discomfort, fatigue, headache, itching, vomiting, belly ache, diarrhea, joint pain, fever, shivering, itchy red patches on the skin, swollen lymph nodes
Rarely
(less than 1 person in 1,000)
  • Allergic reaction, asthma

We recommend that you stay at the clinic for at least 15 minutes after vaccination because allergic reactions may occur. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination. The person giving the vaccine will be able to treat this reaction immediately.

For any questions, contact the person giving the vaccine, or Info-Santé (8-1-1) or your doctor.

To learn more

For more information about the rabies vaccine, you can consult the general fact sheet PDF version.

Back to regular vaccination schedule.