Injection Fundamentalists Are Now Giving Experimental COVID Cocktails to Zoo Animals
When they say everyone must get the COVID muscle juice they really do mean everyone
ZooTampa has begun to vaccinate animals, including threatened and endangered species, that are susceptible to COVID-19.
The zoo will administer a vaccine developed just for animals and made by veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis. The Michigan-based company is donating the vaccines, which are in use at zoos throughout the country.
“The safety and well-being of the more than 1,000 animals entrusted to our care is of paramount priority,” said Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, a senior vice president at ZooTampa.
Animals at ZooTampa, 1101 W Sligh Ave., routinely get other vaccinations and many are trained to present themselves to animal care staff for minor medical procedures, Stringfield said in a news release.
“We’re both thankful and relieved a special vaccine is now available to protect animals against COVID-19,” she said.
Species such as Florida panthers, skunks, otters and primates top the list for vaccination. ZooTampa received a shipment of approximately 220 doses, enough to vaccinate roughly 19 species and a total of 93 animals.
ZooTampa is one of about 70 zoos, research institutions and sanctuaries working with Zoetis in administering the vaccines.
Among the primates on display at ZooTampa is the endangered Bornean orangutan. Another primate, a western lowland gorilla, tested positive for COVID-19 at the Kansas City Zoo, showing symptoms such as coughing on Sept. 25, the zoo reported. The zoo’s troop of six gorillas were presumed to have come down with the virus and were undergoing treatment.
The Zoetis COVID-19 vaccine received investigational authorization by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Zoetis research and development team has decades of experience developing antiviral vaccines for cats, dogs, poultry, and cattle, ZooTampa said.
Source: Tampa Bay Times
VIDEO: ZooTampa in Florida vaccinates a skunk with a specific vaccine developed exclusively for animals. The zoo in Tampa has begun to vaccinate animals who have been identified as most susceptible to Covid-19 pic.twitter.com/FJYaqKaL7d
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) October 17, 2021
Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to help protect the health and well-being of more than 100 mammalian species living in nearly 70 zoos, as well as more than a dozen conservatories, sanctuaries, academic institutions and government organizations located in 27 states. The vaccine has been authorized for experimental use on a case by case basis by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the appropriate state veterinarians. The vaccine deployment to dozens of zoos follows Zoetis’ response in January to a request from the San Diego Zoo following confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Receiving their first shipment of vaccines on June 29, Oakland Zoo in Northern California quickly assembled their veterinary and animal care teams to begin vaccinations of their highest at risk animals the following morning. Tigers, Black bears, Grizzly bears, Mountain lions and ferrets were the first to receive their first of two doses. Next are primates, including Chimpanzees, Fruit bats, and pigs.
“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.
“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.”
COVID-19 vaccine designed for animals
Zoetis’ research and development team, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, applied decades of experience developing other coronavirus vaccines for cats, dogs, poultry and cattle. Zoetis’ COVID-19 vaccine is uniquely formulated for animal species. Although the virus – or antigen – is the same as in human vaccines, vaccines for animals vary based on the carrier – or adjuvant – that is used. The unique combination of antigen and carrier ensures safety and efficacy for the species in which a vaccine is used. To further support veterinarians’, Zoetis also developed and validated feline and canine-specific real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) diagnostic tests to detect SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).
“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.”
Source: Zoetis Press Release