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Supply Constraints with Rabies Vaccine (UK)

26 Sep 2022

There is currently a shortage of rabies vaccine in the UK.  While some stock of rabies vaccine is available, supplies are limited, and travel clinics are reporting difficulties in obtaining supplies.  

 Advice for Travellers

Rabies is a serious viral infection which affects the brain and nerves. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals, usually following a bite, scratch or lick. 

Before you travel you should:

  • check if rabies is a risk at your destination 
  • if it is available, consider having rabies vaccines before travel: see a travel health professional (at least 4-6 weeks before you travel) if you think you might need a rabies vaccine course or booster dose
  • be aware of what to do if you think you have been exposed to rabies virus 
  • determine if there will be any reliable medical facilities at your destination 

Whether or not you have had rabies vaccine, if you are travelling to a country where rabies is considered a risk, you should: 

  • avoid contact with animals, especially dogs, cats and monkeys: be aware that some animals can be infected with rabies without being aggressive or behaving strangely 
  • be aware that children are more likely to approach animals. Check them for wounds, and encourage them to tell you if they are bitten, licked or scratched by an animal 
  • read the fiitfortravel Animal bites page for advice on how to prevent being bitten by bats and animals 

 For further information, see the fitfortravel Rabies page.