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HERE WE GO … Milwaukee County Zoo Launches COVID-19 High-Risk Animal Vaccine Program

Twitter / Milwaukee County Zoo

The Milwaukee County Zoo’s animal care team on Monday launched their “experimental” COVID-19 vaccine on ‘high-risk’ resident animals. Each animal received a 2-dose injection of an experimental vaccine, three weeks apart, and will be observed by staff for any side effects.

The vaccination program has prioritized the ‘high-risk’ animals such as primates, big cats and North American river rats against the COVID-19 virus and there is no age requirement.

The animals received an “experimental” COVID-19 vaccine made by Zoetis, a leader in the pet and livestock pharmaceutical market. The company was a subsidiary of Pfizer.

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Journal Sentinel report:

The zoo is currently planning to initially dose 50 animals, which will include primates, such as gorillas and monkeys, as well as big cats, hyenas and river rats, according to dr. Pamela Govett, the zoo’s senior staff veterinarian.

The animals were selected based on the risk they had of naturally contracting COVID-19, Govett said.

In humans, the COVID-19 point protein attaches to a blood pressure-regulating protein, causing them to become infected, she explained.

“These proteins are very similar in big cats, in river rats and primates,” she said. “They share it with us very closely now.”

The animals that do not share it so closely are less at risk and less likely to become infected, she said. When the zoo receives additional doses of the vaccine, it will also roll it out on a risk basis.

Based on the information available on the CDC websiteAt this stage, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 to humans. More studies are needed to understand if and how different animals can be affected by SARS-CoV-2. ”

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