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  • Rabies

My patient did not return for his postexposure rabies vaccine dose on day 7. How should I manage his series now?

Every attempt should be made to adhere to the recommended vaccination schedules. Once vaccination is initiated, delays of a few days for individual doses are unimportant, but the effect of longer lapses of weeks or more is unknown. Most interruptions in the vaccine schedule do not require reinitiation of the entire series. For most minor deviations from the schedule, vaccination can be resumed as though the patient were on schedule. For example, if a patient misses the dose scheduled for day 7 and presents for vaccination on day 10, the day 7 dose should be administered that day and the schedule resumed, maintaining the same interval between doses. In this scenario, the remaining doses would be administered on days 17 and 31. When substantial deviations from the schedule occur, immune status should be assessed by performing serologic testing 7–14 days after administration of the final dose in the series. Postexposure prophylaxis with rabies vaccine is described in detail at

Last reviewed: May 14, 2023

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