A donation of doses from the veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis will allow Denver Zoo to vaccinate some of its animals against COVID-19 within the next few weeks, CBS Denver reports. The zoo joins Oakland Zoo in aiming to vaccinate some of its residents.
Denver Zoo VP of Animal Health Dr. Scott Larsen stressed that the doses are specifically made for animals. “We are not taking any vaccines away from humans,” Dr. Larsen told the station.
The Denver Zoo has reported that none of its animals have contracted COVID-19 but transmission is possible, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Big cats and monkeys in zoos can become infected, likely from zookeepers that have tested positive for the virus.
The first shipment of 40 doses — enough to vaccinate 20 animals — is scheduled to arrive at Denver Zoo within the next few weeks. Each animal that is vaccinated will have its status documented and undergo blood samples when possible.
“We’ll vaccinate, in the gorilla’s case, maybe one, maybe two. In the lions we may do two or three, and make sure it’s working before we give it to everybody,” Larsen explained.
The Denver Zoo could vaccinate up to 100 animals by the end of the summer.