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Press Release

Rep. Bera Introduces Legislation on World Rabies Day to Reduce Costs of Rabies Vaccine for Uninsured Americans

Bera received immunoglobin and rabies shots after fox bite in April 2022

On World Rabies Day, Representative Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) introduced comprehensive legislation to reduce the costs of rabies post-exposure treatment for uninsured individuals. The Affordable Rabies Treatment for Uninsured Act would establish a program to reimburse health care providers for furnishing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to uninsured individuals. Bera introduced the legislation after receiving a regimen of immunoglobulin and rabies shots following a fox bite on the U.S. Capitol grounds on April 2022.

Rabies is a life-threatening disease that can be transmitted to people if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. The CDC estimates that 60,000 Americans receive PEP each year after possible exposure to rabies. Although rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease, costs for patients can be high, with treatment ranging from $1,200 to $6,500.

“Despite being a fatal disease, rabies is preventable if treated quickly. After being bit by a rabid fox, I was fortunate to have access to readily available and low-cost vaccines. But for too many Americans, the costs of treatment would break their banks. My legislation would seek to reduce the high costs of treatment for uninsured Americans, ensuring that no one has to choose between receiving treatment or not because of high costs,” said Representative Bera, who previously served as Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County. “I encourage all Americans to remain vigilant around wild animals and to seek medical attention if bitten or scratched. Costs should never be a barrier for individuals seeking life-saving treatment.”

Click here to read the full legislation.

Click here for more information from the CDC on rabies prevention and treatment.