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Do I need a rabies vaccination?

Page last updated 27 March 2020

The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid direct contact with dogs and other animals that could be rabid. The rabies vaccination is not part of the Australian government immunisation program.

However, if you are planning on travelling overseas to a country where the risk of catching rabies is high including Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Indonesia, and North Eastern Europe, you should visit your GP or travel health specialist at least 4 weeks prior to travelling. They will assess the risk of exposure, access to healthcare resources overseas and potential access to post-bite treatments. 

Vaccination against rabies before travel simplifies the management if you are exposed to rabies. 

If you require rabies vaccine prior to travelling, a total of three vaccines will be required before departure.


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Sources & Citations

1.    NSW Government, Department of Health, Rabies and Australian bat lyssavirus infection fact sheet. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020).

3.    Australian Government, Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Rabies and other lyssaviruses. Available at: (accessed 10 March 2020).

7.    World Health Organisation. Distribution of risk levels for humans contacting rabies, worldwide, 2013. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020).

8.    healthdirect Australia. Rabies. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020). 

9.    Australian Government, Department of Health. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020). 

SPANZ.RABIE.18.04.0156(1)a - Date of preparation March 2020