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Rabies (RAB) vaccine

Learn about the rabies vaccine, effectiveness, side effects, and safety.

Disease it protects from

Who should get this vaccine

You may get this vaccine if:

  • You had an animal bite.
  • You have had contact with rabies disease.
  • You work with animals at risk for rabies (such as veterinarians and veterinary technicians, animal control, animal lab and research, SPCA or Humane Society, or zoo and wildlife workers).

Talk to your workplace health and safety department or a public health nurse to find out if you can get the vaccine for free.

You may also benefit from the vaccine if:

  • You volunteer with animals.
  • You travel to an area that has a high risk of rabies.
  • You do activities where there is a risk of rabies, such as spelunking or caving.

If you’re getting the vaccine for these reasons, then it’s not free.

If you can’t get the vaccine for free, check your health insurance plan to see if your plan covers the cost.

Who should not get this vaccine

If you had contact with rabies, get the rabies vaccine right away.

Talk to your healthcare provider before getting rabies vaccine if:

  • You have an allergy to any part of the vaccine.
  • You had a severe (serious) or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it.

Although you can get the vaccine if you have a mild illness such as a cold or fever, you should stay home until you are feeling better to prevent spreading your illness to others, unless you had contact with rabies.


It’s very important to get all doses of rabies vaccine on schedule. Get your doses on the days your healthcare provider recommends.

If you’re getting the vaccine because of work, travel, or other activities, you need 3 doses given over 3 to 4 weeks.

If you’re getting the vaccine because you had an animal bite or had contact with rabies, you will get:

  • 2 doses if you’ve had rabies vaccine before
  • 4 or 5 doses if you’ve never had rabies vaccine, as well as a dose of rabies immune globulin (RIG) with the first dose of vaccine.

Some people, such as those who work with animals or those with a weak immune system, may need a blood test after all their doses to make sure they’re protected. You may need to get another dose if the blood test shows you’re not protected. Check with your healthcare provider to see if you need a blood test.

Get the vaccine

If you had an animal bite or you think you had contact with rabies, call Health Link at 811. If rabies vaccine is recommended, you will be told where to go to get the vaccine.

If you need rabies vaccine for work, contact your local public health or community health centre unless you are in Edmonton or Calgary:

  • In Edmonton, contact East Edmonton Public Health at 780-342-4700 and choose the option for Public Health.
  • In Calgary, contact the non-routine immunization clinic at 403-955-9397.

If you want the vaccine and need to pay for it, contact a travel health clinic or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Current as of: July 17, 2023
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
Our work takes place on historical and contemporary Indigenous lands, including the territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 7 & Treaty 8 and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta and 8 Métis Settlements. We also acknowledge the many Indigenous communities that have been forged in urban centres across Alberta.