Jacksonville, FL – The pressure to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19 doesn’t just stop with humans.
Zoos across the country are starting to vaccinate their animals.
Dr. Yousef Jafarey, veterinarian at the Jacksonville Zoo said, âWe all make our bats. We also do otters as well as a number of our carnivorous species like bears and coyotes. And we also make zooids, so warty pigs and warthogs. “
Dr Jarfarey said the animals will receive a special COVID-19 vaccine designed specifically for them.
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âIt’s made by Zoetis,â he said. âIt is an exclusively veterinary company which manufactured an exclusively veterinary vaccine. It cannot be used in humans, it is specially designed for animals.
Experts have warned that COVID-19 has the potential to wipe out populations of gorillas and other primates if humans do not take action to prevent the spread.
“They are all equally sensitive, but with primates, we are concerned that they will no longer become sick and require more invasive treatment,” said Dr Jafarey.
Just last week Atlanta Zoo Authorities have confirmed that nine western lowland gorillas have tested positive for COVID. After the diagnosis, vets at the Atlanta Zoo vaccinated orangutans, lions, tigers, and cloudy leopards.
Right now, officials at the Jacksonville Zoo are working to get ahead of any similar type of outbreak.
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âWe try to apply strict personal protective equipment whenever we are around animals. We are also taking additional measures regarding where animals are placed in their pens when they are seen to the public, âsaid Dr Jafarey. âSo we are avoiding certain areas with certain species like the Kapok here. We no longer allow bonobos and gorillas until we can get COVID-19 under control. “
According to the CDC, the risk of animals transmitting COVID to humans is low. But we do know that COVID can spread from person to person in certain situations.
For now, vets are working on training animals to familiarize themselves with the needles.
They hope to have all vulnerable animals vaccinated by the end of winter.
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