A growing number of zoos across the country have ordered specially designed COVID-19 vaccines for higher-risk animal species with the most interaction with human visitors, such as great apes and big cats.
The animal health company Zoetis has developed a two-dose vaccine specially formulated for animal use to “help protect the health and well-being of more than 100 mammalian species,” said Christina Lood, communications director at Zoetis.
“What is known is that mammals are susceptible to [COVID-19] to varying degrees — not reptiles or avian species for example. The zoo veterinarians use their own risk assessments to determine which mammals in their care should be vaccinated. … Plus they might consider whether certain animals are rare or endangered,” Lood told the Washington Examiner.
The Cincinnati Zoo and the Akron Zoo in Ohio as well as the Denver Zoo in Colorado, among others, will receive portions of 11,000 donated doses of the vaccines to administer to a handful of animals. The Denver Zoo will administer the first round of shots to some gorillas, lions, and tigers, which have the highest likelihood of getting sick from the coronavirus. (Read more from “Zoo Animals Are Receiving COVID-19 Vaccines” HERE)
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