Zoos across the US have already vaccinated, or are planning to vaccinate their animals after the roll-out of donations of over 11,000 doses of an experimental animal covid-19 vaccine by veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, which started in early 2021.
Nearly 70 zoos, conservatories, and other institutions across 27 states have lined up for the donated doses to inject animals with the experimental spike-protein-based injection.
In July 2021 Zoetis said it would continue to produce the product and make donations of the vaccine available to interested zoos.
Throughout 2021 several zoos started administering the untested vaccines on their animals.
San Diego Zoo used the experimental vaccines on its apes after several of the animals allegedly returned positive covid-19 tests.
Fort Worth Zoo said it planned to vaccinate its primates, jaguars, cougars, bobcats, and all canid species including coyotes, foxes, and red wolves.
Dallas Zoo said it also intended to vaccinate its ape and big cat species.
While no animals tested positive for covid-19, both Fort Worth and Dallas Zoos stated their intention in September 2021 to inject their animals after they received the donated experimental animal vaccines from Zoetis.
San Antonio Zoo also lined up its animals at the end of 2021 for the experimental jabs, with the zoo’s director of veterinary care Dr. Rob Clarke posting on Facebook:
“We are looking to initially vaccinate those species that have been shown to contract covid-19. Species such as our large and medium cat species, lesser apes, other primates, mongoose, mink, ferrets, and otters are all on our list to vaccinate. Others will be added to the list as vaccine availability and research progresses.”
Oakland Zoo’s Brown bears were also experimentally injected with the Zoetis product in mid-2021 as part of a two-dose trial. As reported by Nova, the vaccine based on the covid-19 spike protein would be used across several species from mountain lions, gibbons, fruit bats, and wolves.
According to an article published in 2021 by NPR Zoetis also started the development of the covid-19 injection for cats and dogs following alleged cases of animal infections in Hong Kong.
Mahesh Kumar senior vice president of global biologics at Zoetis had said that the animal vaccine was not the same as the ones given to humans. Although the virus is the same, the adjuvant or ingredient used to help boost the immune response was different.
Carrying on from the 2021 assault on zoo animals across the US, the latest zoo to experimentally vaccinate and give ‘boosters’ to their animals with the Zoetis product is Utah’s Hogle Zoo.
Hogle Zoo has already vaccinated three of its snow leopards and has removed them from the public exhibit as it says they are at most risk of contracting the virus, with snow leopards in other zoos already having died from the virus.
The Zoo is now looking to vaccinate its big cats because of their alleged susceptibility to covid.
Dr Crook, director of the zoo’s animal health told Fox13 that they share data with the vaccine maker and that so far there have been no adverse reactions.
According to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, it is also participating in the research on the impacts of covid-19 on animals.
The departments Dr. Lanier said she hoped that the research would provide more data.
Not surprisingly, the vaccine specially created for animals by Zoetis; a division of Pfizer; is currently still in its experimental stages.
This month Magnetic Hill Zoo in Canada also jumped on board to experimentally inject its animals and said although rare, the virus has infected and killed animals in other zoos.
Zoo Director Jill Marvin told CBC News that its animal welfare teams conducted risk assessments on which animals would benefit from the injection after it became available in Canada this year.
Cougars, lions, tigers, marmosets, gibbons, and caribou will all receive a two-dose trial, three weeks apart.
Magnetic Hill Zoo veterinarian Carl Dingee told the news outlet:
“The lions and the tigers, those are where most of the fatalities from covid occurred. So those were certainly high on our list for doing, he said.
Coincidentally, zoos across the US targeted their big cat populations with the experimental vaccines last year.