80 animals vaccinated against COVID-19 at Cincinnati Zoo

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Zoo veterinarians have vaccinated 80 animals against COVID-19 over the last six weeks.

The team of vets have given at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to the zoo’s big cats, great apes, red pandas, goats, giraffes, river otters, skunks, bearcats and domestic dogs and cats. These animals were chosen to receive the vaccine due to commonly sharing space with people, according to the zoo.

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The were no negative reactions to the vaccinations that have been observed, but the animal care teams are continuing to monitor the health and immunity response of the vaccinated animals.

“We have three technicians (Amy Long, Jenny Kroll, and Janell Duvall), and they have their hands full with their regular routines and workloads,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s director of animal health, Dr. Mark Campbell. “Adding the task of vaccinating dozens of animals, located all over the Zoo’s campus, to their plates was a big request. Not surprisingly, they rolled up their sleeves and got busy, working quickly to ensure that each multi-dose vaccine container was used within 24 hours of opening and kept at the desired temperature at all times.”

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Most of the vaccinations were able to be done without anesthesia.

The CDC said in January the spread of COVID-19 from animals to people are considered low, CDC official Dr. Casey Barton Behravesh said during a briefing, according to a report from CNN.

“As of the middle of January, we’re aware of 187 animals from 22 countries with a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Behravesh said, noting those numbers do not include mink on mink farms. She added that no animal deaths have yet been linked to the virus.

Evidence suggested that COVID-19 likely originated in animals before becoming widespread among humans.