Toronto Zoo animals to get vaxxed against COVID-19

By News Staff

Some of the animals at the Toronto Zoo will be getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

A spokesperson for the zoo confirmed to CityNews it would be one of six in Canada that will be giving animals the jab.

“So far we do not have an indication about timing or any further details,” said Toronto Zoo media relations coordinator, Amy Naylor.

About 140 of its animals would be eligible including primates, big cats and swine.

RELATED: Quebec zoo hoping to vaccinate wild animals against COVID-19 over coming weeks

The vaccines are manufactured by U.S. veterinary pharmaceutical company Zoetis, which began offering them to American zoos this summer. The company has offered to donate approximately 900 doses — enough for 450 animals — to the six Canadian zoos.

In a statement, Zoetis said its vaccines were specifically developed and formulated for animals and that like those destined for humans, they are meant to be given in two doses, several weeks apart.

The next step is getting the vaccines across the border, which could still take weeks or months. Because the vaccine is not commercially available, Zoetis said it’s applying for experimental use authorization with the Canadian Centre for Veterinary Biologics and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

North American zoos have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, mostly among large cats like lions and leopards.

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