Assiniboine Park Zoo to begin vaccinating animals against COVID-19

Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo has started giving COVID-19 vaccinations to 55 animals in their care, the organization said.

“Vaccination is a very common, safe and effective way of protecting animals in human care from a variety of illnesses,” said Dr. Chris Enright, the zoo’s director of veterinary services and animal welfare. 

While there has not been a single case of COVID-19 among the animals at Assiniboine Park, other zoos have had some deadly cases, according a press release from the zoo on Tuesday.

Assiniboine is one of a number of accredited facilities in Canada to vaccinate animals against COVID-19.

The animals’ vaccine is made by the New Jersey-based veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, specifically to protect species who are at a greater risk of contracting the illness, the zoo said.

Animals that have close interactions with their human caregivers are most vulnerable to illness from COVID-19, the press release stated.

Animals receiving the COVID-19 vaccines will include:

  • Amur tigers, snow leopards and other cats.
  • White-handed gibbons, squirrel monkeys and other primates.
  • Camels, goats and llamas.
  • Skunks and meerkats.

The vaccinations will be given in two doses, approximately three weeks apart.

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