Detroit Zoo to Vaccinate Certain Animals Against Covid-19

Covid-19 vaccines are now being given to some of the animals at the Detroit Zoo. Officials recently announced that they have begun vaccinating animals that they believe to be the most vulnerable to the illness.

Detroit News reports that the animals will receive a vaccination explicitly designed for animals by Zoetis, a veterinary pharmaceutical company. Unlike the broad sweeping mandates imposed on some portions of the country, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the vaccine’s usage on a case-by-case basis. According to Detroit Zoo authorities, the first animals to receive treatments include gorillas, chimps, tigers, and lions.

The New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company created the vaccination with decades of experience, according to the zoo. Their research and development team, headquartered in Kalamazoo, is the world’s largest producer of vaccines and medicines for animals and livestock. More than 11,000 doses will be donated to 70 zoos, as well as a dozen conservatories, sanctuaries, and other institutions throughout 27 states. Zoetis was a subsidiary of Pfizer until it split off in 2013.

Director of animal health for the Detroit Zoological Society Ann Duncan stated, “much like we vaccinate dogs for things like parvovirus, distemper or rabies, this is needed to protect animals at the Zoo.” Covid-19 has reportedly been found in multiple lions, tigers, leopards, and gorillas in various U.S. zoos. According to officials, a tiger and a lion have died from the virus in European and Indian zoos. However, no cases of Covid-19 have been found in any of the animals at the Detroit Zoo.

Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society, said, “The animals routinely get other vaccinations. Many of the mammals are trained to present themselves to our animal care staff for minor medical procedures, including vaccinations. We’re both thankful and relieved a special vaccine is now available to protect against COVID-19.”

Animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has stated that they support animal vaccinations because they “have been clinically tested and administered to animals only after deep consideration by veterinary professionals.”

Earlier this year, it was reported that otters at the Georgia Aquarium tested positive for Covid-19 after displaying “mild respiratory symptoms” such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and lethargy. Aquarium staff stated that although they followed all recommended safety protocols, they believed the otters caught the virus from an asymptomatic employee.

According to National Geographic, the San Diego Zoo was the first zoo in the country to get vaccines for animals. As a result, several other zoos began administering the vaccinations as well.


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