So I understand the need for rabies vaccination "before" exposure since the vaccine basically prepares the immune system, so that in the future should the same intruder enter the body again, the immune system already knows how to handle it.

What I dont understand however is the need of an immediate rabies vaccine for a person after he/she has been exposed to rabies virus (bitten, scratched by a rabid dog) , assuming he/she has not been vaccinated before.

The rabies virus is already in the saliva of the rabid animal right? and the immune system should already start making the necessary antibodies to counter it right? What's the purpose of injecting a weaker version of the virus if the immune system is going to create the antibodies anyway?

Is the immune system more effective, efficient and quick in creating a solution if it is introduced to a much weaker version of the virus? And after figuring out a "fix", it applies this to the original, strong version of the virus?

Or is the immune system not very responsive to the original virus and it must be "triggered" first to create the necessary "fix" by introducing a weaker version with which it is more responsive?

In any case, I'm quite lost on this.

  • 1
    The vaccine help the immune system to develop a quicker response to the threat. If not you can die before your immune system figured out how to fight the virus
    – holyknight
    Mar 17, 2017 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


It is because rabies take time to kill you and vaccine that you are given is 'dead' virus so it makes it easy to develop antibodies against and when you have antibodies you can fight actual virus

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