Rabies Vaccinations for Employees and Students

What You Should Know Before You Sign Up to Take the Rabies Vaccine

1. Vaccination against rabies is mandatory for students and for many employees of the SVM. Taking the vaccine should be given priority over other activities. August 23, August 30, and September 13, 2017, are the only times LSU Student Health Center personnel will come to the SVM to administer the vaccine this year, so make your plans accordingly.

2. Pre-exposure prophylaxis consists of a 3-dose series and the timing of these doses is critical for development of immunity. This means you must take EACH dose when it is scheduled. In emergency situations, arrangements can be made for you to go to the Student Health Center to take the vaccine if no more than a day or two has passed. If you become ill during the series, contact the Student Health Center (225-578-6271) and Dr. Joseph Taboada (jtaboa1@lsu.edu; 225-578-9537) for advice. If you do not complete the series as scheduled, you may have to retake the entire series, either next year at the SVM if you are a first year student, or from your own physician if you will be seeing animals before the next schedule vaccination clinic in the fall.

3. If you are now taking corticosteroids, if you have had any of these drugs in the last few weeks, or if you have an immunosuppressive illness, the rabies vaccine may not produce active immunity. If you are in this situation, check with Dr. Taboada so special arrangements can be made.

4. Serious reactions to this vaccine are very rare, but as with all vaccines, the medical personnel don’t take any chances. Therefore, you will be required to wait in the auditorium for 30 minutes following each injection.

5. Mild side effects are fairly common. These are similar to those that are experienced with many vaccines and are NOT a reason to discontinue taking the series. Do not be surprised if your arm is sore, reddened, or swollen at the injection site. You may also experience headache, muscle aches, or feel as if you are coming down with the flu. Again, these reactions are NOT considered reason for discontinuing the series. The discomfort generally lasts less than 24 hours and can usually be managed with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).

6. Remember, the benefits of the pre-exposure vaccine series far outweigh the risks and inconvenience. And you’ll probably never have to take the series again!

7. The cost of the vaccine is $250 per dose payable to the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Joseph Taboada
Associate Dean of Veterinary Education and Student Affairs
Office of Student Affairs, Room 1213C