ZooTampa may begin vaccinating animals against COVID-19 this summer or fall

With three vaccines authorized by the FDA for emergency use in humans, getting some relief from the coronavirus pandemic seems within reach, but how does that translate to animals?

Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, senior vice president of animal health conservation and education at ZooTampa, says hope is around the corner.

"We're very excited here at ZooTampa that we have access to an animal COVID vaccine," she shared. "This is a totally separate vaccine from the human vaccines."

That is good news for not just zoo populations but also domestic animal owners. 

"What we're seeing so far is that many species seem susceptible," Stringfield explained. "Clinically, what we are seeing so far is that certain species seem to be more at risk from developing the virus."


There are obvious animals that are in this category such as primates and big cats.

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But Dr. Stringfield added, "There was just an otter case at the Georgia Aquarium a few days ago; so mink, otter, meerkats those types of animals are at risk."

"Thankfully, (in) the zoo species so far, there haven't been any deaths in those animals," Stringfield said. "We've had no COVID cases in animals at ZooTampa."


Springfield says there are signs pet owners should look for in their animals.

"So far what we know about animals, is that they have clinical symptoms from COVID like people," she explained.

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But the vaccine news for animals is good news for everyone in the veterinarian community.


"It looks like we will be able to use it in many different species," shared Stringfield. "It will be a two-dose regiment just like many of the vaccines being used for people."

LINK: Click here for more information about ZooTampa.

As for when it is going to be implemented at ZooTampa, Dr. Stringfield said, "Most likely we would be able to implement that in late summer (or) early fall."


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