Detroit Zoo vaccinating animals against COVID-19

Officials say vaccine developed only for zoo animals

Animals getting COVID vaccine

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – The Detroit Zoo has officially started to vaccinate the animals most likely to contract the COVID-19 virus.

“It would be harder for us to care for a tiger or a gorilla that developed serious symptoms from the coronavirus. We do everything that we can to protect the health and enhance the welfare of the animals at the zoo,” said Detroit Zoological Society Director of Animal Health Dr. Ann Duncan.

However, don’t expect these creatures to receive the exact same vaccine that human’s received. The dose was specifically designed with by the veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis.

“We’re not using human vaccine. We’re not using a vaccine that has been taken away from another population of animals. It’s developed only for zoo animals,” Duncan said.

The first to receive the revolutionary vaccine so far are about 20 of the more popular animals at the zoo -- tigers, lions, gorillas, chimpanzees and sea otters.

“We put together a list of the animals that were susceptible that live here at the zoo. Then they worked with the USDA and the state veterinarians to get approval for us to use this vaccine,” Duncan said.

Officials said while there have been no animal COVID cases at the Detroit Zoo, said the purpose of the animals receiving the vaccine is prevention.

Unfortunately, several animals have already contracted the virus across the country.

“This vaccine provides another layer of protection and avoids us having an animal become seriously ill from coronavirus,” Duncan said.

The North American river otters are next to receive the shot, along with several other animals next week.

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About the Author:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.