High-risk animals at Philadelphia Zoo receive experimental COVID-19 vaccine
Some animals at the Philadelphia Zoo will be injected with experimental vaccines in the coming months to help protect them from COVID-19.
The vaccine comes from Zoetis, a veterinary drug company in New Jersey Donated 11,000 doses of vaccines to 70 zoos across the country.
So far, the Oakland Zoo has accepted their injection and started to inject the vaccine. The vaccine has been authorized for experimental use by the US Department of Agriculture on a case-by-case basis.
The vaccine is not designed for humans and needs to go through a separate approval process. “New York Times” reported.
Although reports of animal infections with COVID-19 are quite rare, the virus can infect animals and cause animal symptoms through human contact.
In San Diego, the gorilla was one of the first animals to be diagnosed with COVID-19. In Pakistan, two white tiger cubs died of the virus. There are no reports of human infections from animals.
Officials at the Philadelphia Zoo said they are eager to vaccinate high-risk primates and prevent the virus.
“This is a serious problem for us, not only for people but also for animals,” Keith Hinshaw, Director of Animal Health, told CBS3.
Great apes and humans share 98% of their DNA, making them more susceptible to infection. Hinshaw said that they will receive injections first to ensure their safety and health.
Hinshaw said the reported cases of animal infections came from close contact with caregivers, but zoo officials are also concerned about zoo visitors.
The vaccine itself does not contain live viruses and has been effective in clinical trials.
The Philadelphia Zoo is expected to begin vaccination procedures in the next few months.