This week, the San Antonio Zoo will become one of the zoos in the country that will begin administering its animals a COVID-19 vaccine to protect them from the virus.
According to Chron, the zoo will be working in conjunction with Zoetis, an animal health company that donated the vaccines to them. In a statement from Zoetis, the company explained how many diseases come from animals at first, including COVID-19, so treating them against the virus will ultimately help people as well.
“At least 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases have an animal origin, including COVID-19,” the statement read. “Now more than ever before, we can all see the important connection between animal health and human health.”
The first animals to receive the vaccine will be the African lions, Sumatran tigers, white-cheeked gibbons, and Francois langur. Tim Morrow, CEO and president of the San Antonio Zoo, also added in the release how excited he is to increase the safety and health of both the animals and the zoo’s visitors.
“We are very excited to be one of the initial zoos in the country to obtain and administer the Zoetis vaccine,” Morrow said. “The safety of our animals, guests, and zoo crew is our top priority. Our veterinary and animal care teams have worked incredibly hard to protect and prevent our animals from contracting COVID-19 through increased disinfection, personal protective equipment, and new guest procedures. Vaccinating our animals is one more important step.”
The vaccine that the zoo’s staff will be giving the animals is similar but not the same as the vaccine that humans have been taking. Zoetis also expects to send vaccines to other zoos across the country. Earlier this year, apes at the San Diego Zoo received the Zoetis vaccine.
On Monday, the Detroit Zoo started to administer the Zoetis vaccine to chimpanzees, gorillas, tigers, and lions, according to the Detroit Free Press. Other zoos that have started (or will start) vaccinating animals include the Oakland Zoo and the Denver Zoo, as well as other places.