Columbus Zoo, The Wilds identify animals for COVID-19 vaccine


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Zoo and The Wilds are planning to vaccinate some of their animals against COVID-19 this summer.

Zoo officials have determined which species are at the highest risk for COVID-19 and would start receiving vaccinations as soon as a shipment is received. The animals would receive the Zoetis coronavirus vaccine, which is not for humans. It is given in two doses over a three-week period.

“Our goal is to provide the best care for all the animals at the Zoo and The Wilds,” said Dr. Randy Junge, vice president of animal health. “While we don’t have the vaccine in-house yet, we have thoughtfully mapped out a plan once it arrives.”

The animals in line to get their shots first are great apes such as gorillas and orangutans and big cats such as lions, tigers, leopards and cheetahs.

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported among animals at either the Zoo in Powell or at The Wilds park and conservation center southeast of Zanesville.

According to a news release, vaccines are commonly given to animals at the Zoo and The Wilds, and some animals are trained to receive vaccinations voluntarily.

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