‘Covid, anti-rabies vax can be taken on the same day’ | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: People who have received the Covid-19 vaccine and are bitten by a stray dog must also take an anti-rabies vaccine even if the schedules overlap, the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India (APCRI) has clarified in an advisory issued on June 5.
The advisory comes in the wake of multiple queries on what a person must do if s/he is bitten by a dog post or prior to Covid-19 vaccination. APCRI said a person bitten by a dog or wild animal can get the antirabies vaccine even on the same day as the Covid-19 vaccine if the situation demands.
“Rabies inoculation is not a contraindication for Covid-19 vaccination. Both vaccines do not have live viruses in them,” said Dr DH Ashwath Narayana, president, APCRI. “Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is life-saving in all animal exposure. A complete course of anti-rabies vaccination and rabies immunoglobulin/rabies monoclonal antibodies for all category III exposure must be administered, regardless of whether people have received a dose of Covid-19 vaccine.”
Data with the health and family welfare department shows there have been 35 deaths due to rabies in Karnataka during 2018 to 2019. The latest rabies death in Bengaluru was in February 2020, when a 31-year-old Cox Town resident died.
Between 2018 and 2020, as per the data with the health and family welfare department, as many as 8,97,793 dog bite cases were reported in the state, 67,207 of which were in Bengaluru alone.
Prof MK Sudarshan, founder president and mentor, APCRI, said there were many queries about dog bites especially with Covid-19 patients in home isolation, cases of dog bites between doses of Covid-19 vaccines, and queries about when to take rabies shots and Covid vaccines if there is a dog bite prior to Covid vaccination. “There were also queries about animal handlers having to take pre-exposure vaccination which has now got entangled with Covid vaccination too. There were questions too about whether a Covid-19 patient can be with a pet dog during home isolation,” said Dr Sudarshan, explaining why APCRI had to issue guidelines.
“Between Covid and rabies, protection from rabies takes precedence as it is 100% fatal. We can survive Covid, but we can’t survive rabies. Between the two, Covid is the lesser evil,” said Dr Sudarshan.

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Sagar Biswas

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