On Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a San Francisco Bay Area zoo, the Oakland Zoo has vaccinated some of its animals to prevent them from getting infected with COVID-19. An animal vaccine drive has been undertaken across zoos in the nation to protect species. The experimental vaccine has been developed by veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis. The company donated the doses to the zoo.
According to a press release, Zoetis New Jersey based veterinary pharmaceutical company is donating at least 11,000 doses of its vaccine for animal species to locations that house animals in 27 states of the nation. This includes
- Academic institutions and government organizations.
The vice president of veterinary services at Oakland Zoo said that none of the animals have been infected with the coronavirus but the zoo authorities wished to be proactive and vaccinate their animals
The first two animals that got the first dose of the vaccine were two tigers — Ginger and Molly. Other animals that were jabbed with the first of two doses of the vaccine are
- Mountain Lions
- Black Bears
- Grizzly Bears
The next in line are
- Fruit bats
Harmon also said that the zoo had been using barriers for social distancing and staff had been wearing protective gear including PPE suits to safeguard vulnerable species. However, the vaccine rollout has made them happy and relieved as they are now in a better position to protect their animals.
The following animals have been infected by the coronavirus at zoos and at homes
- Domestic cats
- Domestic dogs
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park had seen a COVID-19 outbreak among its gorillas, in January. Zoo officials began vaccinating the primates. A protective vaccine can safeguard species and other large zoos have also vaccinated animals. The experimental vaccine has gained authorization from the United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA) on a case by case basis.
According to the Oakland Zoo, although the virus is similar to the one found in humans, vaccines for animal species are different depending on the carrier that is used. The statement also said that the unique combination of antigen and carrier ensures safety and efficacy for the particular animal species in which a vaccine is used.