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Cincinnati Zoo has vaccinated 80 animals against COVID-19

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Cincinnati Zoo
Eighty animals at the Cincinnati Zoo are now vaccinated, including this giraffe.

Good training allowed staff to administer most without anesthesia.

By the end of October, a large portion of Cincinnati Zoo animals will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These include the 80 animals that most commonly share space with people:

  • Big cats
  • Great apes (gorillas, bonobos, orangutans)
  • Red pandas
  • Goats
  • Giraffes
  • River otters
  • Skunks
  • Bearcats
  • Domestic dogs and cats

Cincinnati Zoo veterinary technicians had to work overtime to complete their regular work and administer the vaccines in just six weeks.
For weeks, the vet techs trained the animals to be able to take the vaccine once it arrived, as WVXU reported in July.

"We usually have a year for the animals that receive flu shots and other routine annual vaccinations to forget about the sting, but the second COVID shots had to be given within three weeks of the first,” says Director of Animal Health Dr. Mark Campbell.

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Cincinnati Zoo
This meerkat appears ready to get the vaccine with Zoo vet tech Amy Long

“We were concerned that the fresh memory of the first injection would make animals less willing to offer a shoulder or thigh for the second round, but they did," he says. "That success is 100% due to the strong relationships these animals have with care staff and our animal health team.”

So far, they haven’t noticed any negative reactions.

After the zoo staff finishes with second doses, they’ll pass along their observations and data through blood draws to the vaccine manufacturer Zoetis.

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology