What Is a Rabies Inoculation?
There are three types of rabies inoculation or vaccine. One is a standard vaccine that prevents infection if given before infection, and another is used to treat someone who has already been exposed to the virus. The third type is used on animals to prevent outbreaks.
The standard rabies vaccine is given to people who are likely to come into contact with the rabies virus, mostly veterinarians, wildlife workers and rabies researchers. If exposure is likely, it should be reinforced with a regular booster. It does not make you completely safe, but it makes an infection much more likely to be survivable.
The post-exposure vaccine is given to people who have been bitten by a possibly infected animal. It involves a course of injections and is usually effective in stopping progression of the disease.
Recently, a third type of vaccine has been developed. This vaccine is spread in the wild mixed into animal bait. Animals eating the bait become immune to rabies, decreasing the likelihood of an outbreak.
All types of vaccine are made up of a greatly weakened sample of the rabies virus. By fighting the weakened virus, your body learns how to fight a real infection.
Sometimes, the vaccine will be given along with a solution including some rabies antibodies. These are chemicals that lock on to the rabies virus and tell your immune system to destroy it, making your immune response more effective.