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Oakland Zoo Animals Trial Covid-19 Vaccine

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: July 3, 2021 1:59 am

Oakland Zoo Covid-19 Vaccine

One of the ferrets which acts as an animal ambassador at the Oakland Zoo receives a Covid-19 vaccination donated by Zoetis

Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

Oakland Zoo have begun the task of vaccinating some of the animals at their zoo against Covid-19 following the donation of vaccines designed specifically for animals by Zoetis.

After receiving their first shipment of the vaccine on June 29th 2021 the zoo's veterinary and animal care teams begun vaccinating their most at risk animals. This included the tigers, bears, mountain lions and ferrets. Next in line for the vaccine are the primates, fruit bats and pigs.

Each animals will receive two doses of the vaccine.

“Up until now, we have been using public barriers at certain habitats to ensure social distancing, along with enhanced PPE worn by staff to protect our susceptible species from COVID-19. We’re happy and relieved to now be able to better protect our animals with this vaccine, and are very thankful to Zoetis for not only creating it, but for donating it to us and dozens of other AZA-accredited zoos across the U.S.,” said Dr. Alex Herman,VP of Veterinary Services at Oakland Zoo.

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Zoetis are providing 11,000 doses of their experimental Covid-19 vaccine to nearly 70 zoos where it will protect 100 different species of mammal. The vaccine has been approved for experimental use by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the appropriate state veterinarians. 

“Zoetis has a long history of supporting zoo veterinarians and the animals in their care,” said Dr. Mike McFarland, Chief Medical Officer at Zoetis. “We are proud that our innovative research and development work and vaccine donations can help veterinary professionals within the zoo community continue to provide a high standard of care to the primates, big cats, and many other species they care for and reduce the risk of COVID-19.”  

Zoetis have been working on the vaccine since the first infection of a dog in Hong Kong last year. “When the first dog was infected with COVID-19 in Hong Kong last year, we immediately began to work on a vaccine that could be used in domestic animals, and in eight months we completed our initial safety studies, which we presented at the World One Health Congress last year. While thankfully a COVID-19 vaccine is not needed in pets or livestock at this time, we are proud that our work can help zoo animals at risk of COVID-19,” said Mahesh Kumar, Senior Vice President, Global Biologics at Zoetis. 

“More than ever before, the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the important connection between animal health and human health, and we continue to monitor for emerging infectious diseases that can impact animals as well as people.”

Oakland Zoo Covid-19 Vaccine

A tiger allows keepers to administer the Covid-19 vaccine at the Oakland Zoo

Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

Learn more about Tigers here – Tiger Fact File | The Animal Facts

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

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