Oakland Zoo animals receive experimental COVID-19 vaccine

zoo animals covid vaccine

A mountain lion at the Oakland Zoo in California receives a COVID-19 vaccine. (Credit: Oakland Zoo via Storyful)

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Zoo became the first of its kind to protect its tigers, bears and other animals against COVID-19 using an experimental vaccine uniquely formulated for animals, video released by the zoo on Friday showed.

The vaccine was developed by Zoetis, which has a history of developing other coronavirus vaccines for cats, dogs, poultry and cattle, the zoo said.

Although the virus is the same as in human vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Zoetis had to have a unique combination of antigen and carrier to ensure the safety and efficacy for the different species receiving the vaccine.

The zoo said it quickly assembled its veterinary and animal care teams to begin vaccinations of their highest at-risk animals after receiving doses of the experimental vaccine on June 29.

Tigers, black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions and ferrets were the first to receive their first of two doses. Next are primates, including chimpanzees, fruit bats, and pigs, the zoo said.

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