Student Handbook – Rabies Vaccinations

Veterinary medical students are at higher risk for exposure to tetanus and rabies than the general population. Therefore, all students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine are required to be immunized against tetanus and rabies.  Students are responsible for the cost of pre-exposure immunization and serology.  Costs for post-exposure rabies care will also be the responsibility of the student.

Students may seek immunization before beginning the professional curriculum or after matriculation. Students must have had a Tdap or Adult Td in the past 10 years to be considered current for tetanus vaccination. Students who are previously immunized for rabies are required to show proof that they have a protective titer; titer testing can be performed by the Student Health Center as soon as one year after completion of the initial rabies vaccine series.

For students who have not been immunized for tetanus in the last 10 years prior to matriculation, vaccination must be administered during the VM1 curriculum, no later than the start of instructional period 5. Students are responsible for ensuring that their tetanus vaccination status remains updated until graduation at the end of the VM4 year. For example, if a student begins the professional curriculum 8 years after their last tetanus vaccine, they would require a booster 2 years later (at year 10 post vaccination) and before the start of the VM3 year.

For a student that enters the curriculum not having been previously vaccinated for rabies, two doses of IM rabies vaccine should be given 7 days apart during the VM1 curriculum no later than the start of instructional period 5. A one-time titer check would be due between 1 year and 3 years after the initial 2-dose vaccine series, but before the beginning of clinical rotations. For students with an insufficient titer for protection (as determined by the MU Student Health Center), a booster vaccination will be required.

Initial vaccinations, vaccine boosters, and vaccine titers can be performed either by the Student Health Center or by the health provider of the student’s choice as long as proof of vaccination/titer is made available. Regardless of where performed, costs of vaccinations and serology are the financial responsibility of the veterinary student.

Policy reviewed by the Director of Medical Services at the MU Student Health Center and approved by the Dean, Associate Deans, Department Chairs, and Directors on May 11, 2022.