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Brookfield Zoo Begin Vaccine Program for Animals

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: September 12, 2021 11:55 pm

Covid Vaccines for Brookfield Zoo Animals

Kyan, one of Brookfield Zoo’s servals, receives a COVID-19 vaccine from Dr. Mike Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society. He is assisted by Maggie Chardell, a lead animal care specialist. Due to the respectful and trusting relationships developed between the animals and the care staff, many of the zoo’s animals voluntarily participate in their own health care, including holding still while the vaccination is administered.

Photo Credit: Cathy Bazzoni/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

The Chicago Zoological Society have begun administering a COVID-19 vaccine to the animals housed at Brookfield Zoo. They have begun with the animals which are known to be more susceptible to contracting the virus.

The novel COVID-19 vaccine being used at Brookfield Zoo is designed specifically for animals and has been donated by Zoetis, a Michigan-based animal health company.

“The health and well-being of the animals at Brookfield Zoo is always our leading priority, and the threat of COVID-19 to humans and animals is interconnected,” said Dr. Mike Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo.

“We know a variety of animal species can transmit and become sick from coronaviruses. Vaccinating animals is not only important for their own health, but healthy animals help keep humans healthy too. The health of humans, animals, and the environment are intertwined. Most emerging infectious diseases have an animal origin. Ensuring animals in professional care are protected from the virus is another step toward curbing the pandemic here in Illinois, the U.S., and globally.”

Covid Vaccines for Brookfield Zoo Animals

Sandy, a binturong at Brookfield Zoo, receives a COVID-19 vaccine administered by Dr. Mike Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, and assisted by Maggie Chardell and Craig Stevens, lead animal care specialists.

Photo Credit: Cathy Bazzoni/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

Zoetis have received an investigational authorization from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Illinois state veterinarian. The research and development team at Zoetis have applied information from decades of developing other coronaviral vaccines for use in cats, dogs, poultry and cattle to create this Covid-19 vaccine.

As in humans the animals at Brookfield Zoo will receive two doses of the Covid vaccine spread three weeks apart and will be considered protected two weeks after the second. The zoo team are working with Zoetis to coordinate and monitor the animals during this process.

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Veterinarians at the zoo have developed a tiered priority list for rollout of the vaccinations. First to be jabbed will be the primates, small carnivores, animal ambassadors, big cats and bears.

Many of the animals at the zoo have a trusting relationship with their keepers and as such will voluntarily sit while their vaccine is administered.

The vaccine rollout will allow guests to re-connect with a number of species which have been off display. Once the western lowland gorillas and Rodrigues fruit bats have been vaccinated the zoo will reopen Tropic World: Africa and the Australia House.

Learn more about the Brookfield Zoo on their website – Brookfield Zoo

Covid Vaccines for Brookfield Zoo Animals

Francine Lescher, a senior animal care specialist, holds T-Mo, a Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth at Brookfield Zoo, while he receives a COVID-19 vaccine administered by Dr. Mike Adkesson, vice present of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society.

Photo Credit: Cathy Bazzoni/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

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