Risk of Allergic Reaction to Rabies Vaccine (HDCV)

As many as 6% of people receiving booster doses of rabies vaccine (HDCV) as part of a pre- or postexposure vaccination regimen experience an allergic reaction. The reaction is rare in people receiving first-time (primary) immunization. footnote 1 Symptoms include:

  • Hives (urticaria).
  • Pain and inflammation of joints.
  • Swelling.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Fever.

These symptoms are never life-threatening. If symptoms are serious, other vaccines such as RVA or PCEC can be given instead of HDCV on the same schedule.


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Rabies. In LK Pickering et al., eds., Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 28th ed., pp. 552–559. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease

Current as ofMay 22, 2015