SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Zoo will receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines to its animals in the coming weeks. African lions, Sumatran tigers, Francois langurs and white-cheeked gibbons were among the first to be vaccinated.
The vaccine is made specifically for animals and is sold by the animal health company Zoetis. Experimental use is approved by the USDA and the Texas State Veterinary Officer.
We are expected to receive our first shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine for animals and plan to deliver the first doses in the coming weeks. The species to be vaccinated are our large and medium-sized cat species, small great apes, other primates, mongoose, monks, ferrets and otters pic.twitter.com/sQ69GJoRJk
– San Antonio Zoological Society 🦏 (@SanAntonioZoo) August 31, 2021
“We want to first vaccinate the species that have been shown to be infected with COVID-19,” said Dr. Rob Coke, Veterinary Director of the San Antonio Zoo. “Species like our large and medium-sized cats, small apes, other primates, mongooses, monks, ferrets and otters are all on our vaccination list. Others will be added to the list as vaccine availability and research advance. “
The vaccine is similar but not identical to the one developed for humans. Animals also need a booster vaccination three weeks after receiving the first dose.
“We are thrilled to be one of the first zoos in the country to receive and administer the Zoetis vaccine,” said Tim Morrow, CEO and President of the San Antoni Zoo. “The safety of our animals, guests and zoo staff is our top priority. Our veterinary and animal care teams have worked incredibly hard to keep our animals safe and from COVID-19 contamination through increased disinfection, personal protective equipment and new guest procedures. The vaccination of our animals is another important step. “
The zoo claims to carefully monitor the animals throughout the vaccination process.
According to a statement by Zoetis, “at least 75% of emerging infectious diseases are of animal origin, including COVID-19. Today, more than ever, we can all see the important link between animal health and human health. “