For the purposes of Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council, can the first anti-rabies vaccination shot, administered before the age of 12 weeks, be considered sufficient protection from possible infection until such time as the animal can be given its second and final dose?
Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 provides that, for the purpose of a non-commercial movement between Member States, a dog or a cat must be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the validity requirements set out in Annex Ib thereto.
The marketing authorisation is granted to an anti-rabies vaccine on the basis of all the administrative information and scientific documentation necessary for demonstrating the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine in question. The approved technical specifications of the authorised vaccine include primary and booster vaccination schedules.
Primary vaccination is usually a single dose inoculation at the age of 12 weeks providing a duration of immunity of up to 2-3 years. However, where the vaccine is administered at an earlier age, the authorised vaccination schedule for the primary vaccination usually requires a second injection of vaccine at the age of 12 weeks or later. In that case Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 establishes that at least 21 days should have elapsed following the second injection before the animal can be moved to another Member State.
Regulation (EU) No 576/2013 repealing Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 as of 29 December 2014 requires for cross-border movements of dogs and cats a minimum age of 12 weeks for the administration of the primary vaccination.