Zoo starts process of vaccinating animals against COVID-19

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By , KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Philadelphia Zoo has officially vaccinated nearly a dozen of its animals against COVID-19.

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The zoo received the green light to use a free experimental COVID-19 vaccine by New Jersey-based veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis to protect its at-risk animals. The company is donating 11,000 doses of its experimental vaccine to 70 zoos across the country.

So far, 10 at-risk animals at the Philly Zoo were given their first of two shots this week: five ring-tailed lemurs, four western lowland gorillas, and a Sumatran orangutan.

“We submitted a list of 113 animals to the Zoetis company, and that is the list that was approved by the USDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,” said Dr. Keith Hinshaw, Philadelphia Zoo director of animal health.

“We may add other animals on eventually. It just depends on what we find out about this virus and zoo animals and which ones are more susceptible.”

There are 1,700 animals at the Philly Zoo. The next round of shots will likely take place next week among some big cats.

Zoo Atlanta announced earlier this week that at least 18 of its 20 gorillas tested positive for COVID-19. Officials said the outbreak came just days before obtaining the Zoetis vaccine.

There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 among animals at the Philly Zoo.

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