The Detroit Zoo says it has started vaccinating animals for COVID-19.
The special vaccine, developed for animal-use, is being administered to animals who are believed to be most vulnerable to COVID-19. The virus has not been detected in any animals at the Detroit Zoo, but safety measures are in place, including social distancing rules, and PPE requirements for staff.
“The animals routinely get other vaccinations. Many of the mammals are trained to present themselves to our animal care staff for minor medical procedures, including vaccinations. We’re both thankful and relieved a special vaccine is now available to protect against COVID-19,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the DZS.
Gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers and lions are the first to receive doses. Several lions, tigers, leopards and gorillas have contracted COVID-19 in other U.S. zoos. In European and Indian zoos, a tiger and a lion have died from the virus.
“Much like we vaccinate dogs for things like parvovirus, distemper or rabies, this is needed to protect animals at the Zoo,” said Dr. Ann Duncan, director of animal health for the DZS.