CLEVELAND — Both the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Akron Zoo are planning on providing COVID-19 vaccines to some of their animals in the near future.
According to spokesperson Jeff Tolman, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is scheduled to receive a USDA-authorized experimental COVID-19 vaccine uniquely made for animals and donated by the veterinary pharmaceutical health company Zoetis.
"We are expecting to receive the vaccine in the next few weeks and begin administering it to animal species susceptible to COVID-19 including primates (gorillas, orangutans and small primates), felids (tigers, lions, leopards) and more," Tolman told 3News in an email. He added that while no animal at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has tested positive for coronavirus, the vaccine "will offer an additional layer of protection for the animals in our care."
Tolman noted that Cleveland Metroparks Zoo continues to take extra precautions with animals susceptible to COVID-19 including installing public barriers at certain habitats to ensure social distancing and wearing PPE around species when providing care and preparing meals.
The Akron Zoo similarly plans to provide vaccines to some of its animals. "We are still working out when and what animals will be receiving the vaccine," spokesperson Elena Bell told 3News in an email.
Recently, the Oakland Zoo announced it was inoculating its big cats, bears and ferrets against the coronavirus as part of a national effort to protect animal species using an experimental vaccine. The doses were donated and developed by Zoetis in New Jersey.
Zoetis is donating more than 11,000 doses for animals living in nearly 70 zoos, as well as more than a dozen conservatories, sanctuaries, academic institutions and government organizations located in 27 states, according to a press release.
The Associated Press contributed to this story
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