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28 May 2021

 About Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is a viral disease that humans can contract when they are infected with a bite from a rabies-infected animal or carrier. As per a medical publication, rabies is a very serious medical condition. which if left untreated, has a 100% fatality rate. Fortunately for us, extensive research and medical advancements have resulted in the invention of a rabies vaccine (also known as the anti-rabies vaccine), making the deadly disease both treatable and preventable. However, for the disease to be treatable, you need to immediately visit the doctor if you get bitten by any animal. In this article, we’ll take a look at rabies vaccine’s cost, its side effects, and more. 

What is the price of Rabies Vaccine in India?

The rabies vaccine is given in 5 doses spread over a few days. The vaccine is available free of cost in government hospitals and facilities. In private hospitals and clinics, you may have to pay anywhere between ₹350-₹400 for a single dose, so the cost of 5 doses will approximately be around ₹1,700-₹2,000. Besides the vaccines, if a patient also needs immunoglobulin for treatment, it will cost an additional ₹2,400.

Why is the Rabies Vaccine Important?

As mentioned above, rabies has a 100% fatality rate if left untreated. The rabies vaccines, which can be given both pre and post exposure, can help save the life of an infected patient. Apart from vaccination and immunoglobulin, there is no treatment for rabies. As per statistics released by a news site, India accounts for nearly one-third of all global rabies cases. To prevent and treat this deadly communicable disease, the rabies vaccine serves as the most important tool.

How Effective is the Rabies Vaccine?

The rabies vaccine is fully effective among patients when given immediately after they have been infected. Even the precautionary rabies vaccine has nearly 100% effectiveness against preventing illness and death. However, there is an important aspect of the rabies vaccine to be kept in mind. If the rabies vaccine is taken too late after the initial exposure, it may not be effective. Since rabies has a 100% fatality rate if not treated on time, the patient may very well end up dead.

Learn How the Rabies Vaccine is Administered

The rabies vaccine is an immunising agent that instead of killing the disease itself, equips your body to combat it. It injects an inactive rabies virus into your body, to provoke an immune response from your body and get your lymphocytes to produce the appropriate antibodies. This is achieved in the first dose itself, the rabies vaccine schedule requires additional doses that strengthen the level of your immune system’s response. This ensures that should the virus ever naturally enter the body, your body will be equipped to fight it. Here’s how the rabies vaccine is administered:

  • Before infection

A five-round, 1 ML dose of either the HDCV or PCEC vaccine is recommended for those who have previously not been exposed to it. This works as a preventative measure and is most commonly administered to individuals such as wildlife rangers, veterinarians and zoo employees among others. While this pre-exposure regimen makes the post-exposure process much easier, it does not fully eliminate the need for it.

  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

Despite the fact that the vaccine for rabies is widely available and that the rabies vaccine cost has been driven down over the ages, the disease continues to be fatal given that we merely have preventative measures, not curative ones. It is recommended that the post-exposure vaccine be administered immediately after exposure, and most definitely before symptoms start to appear.

What are the Types of Rabies Vaccines Available?

The rabies vaccine has two common forms:

  • HDCV

Human Diploid Cell Vaccine or HDCV is one of two vaccines that are implemented in the treatment and prevention of rabies. This rabies vaccine contains Pitman-Moore L503 or Flury strain of rabies virus that has been grown based on the MRC-5 human diploid cell structure.

  • PCEC

Purified Chick Embryo Cell vaccine or PCEC is a more modern anti-rabies vaccine. The inactivated vaccine has been developed based on the FLURY-LEP C25 rabies strain and was altered in order for it to be capable of propagating in primary chick embryo cultures.

Who Should Get the Rabies Vaccine?

You should keep in mind that not everyone is required to receive the vaccine. Instead, those who should get the anti-rabies vaccine can be split into two groups.

Those who have been exposed

Chances are, if you are not employed at a veterinarian clinic, zoo or world for animal welfare, that you would have likely not expected to require a rabies vaccine. However, it is still a possibility. You could come in contact with rabies if you are bitten by a stray animal, or if your pets have not been given the rabies shots they require and have bitten you. You should immediately go to a doctor, who will be able to advise you on whether or not you require the vaccine. The rabies vaccine dosing and rabies vaccine schedule will depend on if you’ve been previously vaccinated before or not.

  • Previously Vaccinated: You’ll get 2 doses, 1 right away and the other 3 days after.

  • Not Vaccinated: You’ll have to go through a 5 dose course. The first one will be given right away, and the subsequent 3 doses in 4-7 day intervals. You’ll also be given a Rabies Immune Globulin with the first dose to help your body fight off the virus.

Those who are at constant risk

There are a number of people who face a drastically higher chance of contracting rabies. Here are a few:

  • Veterinarians (Doctors and assistants)

  • Animal control officers

  • Zookeepers

  • Some laboratory workers

  • Those travelling internationally

  • Animal welfare volunteers

Who Should Not Take the Rabies Vaccine?

Generally, the anti-rabies vaccine does not pose any risks to individuals. However, there are some cases wherein you shouldn’t take the vaccine unless exposed to the virus.

  1. If you have compromised immunity: If you suffer from HIV / AIDs or are on any sort of medication that suppresses your immune system, it is advised that you do not take the vaccine unless exposed to the virus.

  2. If you are a cancer patient.

  3. If you are pregnant/breastfeeding.

  4. If you have severe allergies: This can either be to the rabies vaccine in the past year or any other serious allergies.

Know the Side Effects of Rabies Vaccine

Though generally harmless, the vaccine can have a number of side effects, particularly in those who may have underlying allergies or a weakened immune system; let’s take a look.

  • At injection site: Soreness redness or swelling at the site of injection

  • Allergic reactions: These may include mild to severe reactions, from rashes to issues such as trouble breathing, throat constriction, and swelling of face, mouth, lips, nose, or eyes

  • Pain: Muscle pain, headaches, joint pain

  • Gastro-Intestinal: Stomach pain, nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Difficulty in moving

It should be restated that severe reactions are not common and that the vaccine is generally safe.

Final Takeaway

While the anti-rabies vaccine price might be low, you can always benefit from making financial provisions for the future. A good health insurance plan can keep you covered against most diseases and unexpected medical emergencies. Certain health insurance policies cover vaccination costs, but more commonly, they are essential to make sure that you get the treatment you need if you are bitten and believe you may contract rabies. If you are looking for health cover, you can choose from the list of excellent health insurance plans available at Finserv MARKETS. 

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FAQs on Rabies Vaccine

  • ✔️How much does the rabies vaccine cost?

    The rabies vaccine costs around ₹350-₹400 for a single dose, so the cost of 5 doses will approximately be around ₹1,700-₹2,000.

  • ✔️Is rabies a treatable disease?

    Yes, it can be treated through rabies vaccines as long as the disease is detected and treated in time.

  • ✔️How many times is the rabies vaccine administered?

    For an individual who has not been exposed to the virus, 5 shots of vaccine are given over a period of time.

  • ✔️Does health insurance cover the cost of the rabies vaccine?

    Different health insurance plans have different coverage, so you need to read the policy documents to know if a plan offers coverage for rabies vaccine.

  • ✔️Where can I get the rabies vaccine for free?

    You can get the rabies vaccine for free at government hospitals and facilities.