North Carolina Zoo begins administering COVID-19 vaccines to primates


ASHEBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Zoo began vaccinating its animals against COVID-19 this week, according to a Facebook post on the NC Zoo’s page Friday morning.

The NC Zoo was set to receive its first shipment of the Zoetis vaccine in late July or early August and a second shipment was scheduled for September. Officials didn’t say if there was a delay in receiving the vaccines or if they just waited a few months before administering them.

According to Zoetis, the United States Department of Agriculture and appropriate state veterinarians authorized the COVID-19 vaccine for experimental use with animals on a case-by-case basis.

In July, Zoetis began donating doses with a plan to donate more than 11,000 doses to facilities across 27 states.

The North Carolina Zoo is one of about 70 zoos to benefit from the donations.

“Zoetis has a long history of supporting zoo veterinarians and the animals in their care,” Mike McFarland, the chief medical officer at Zoetis, said. “We are proud that our innovative research and development work and vaccine donations can help veterinary professionals within the zoo community continue to provide a high standard of care to the primates, big cats and many other species they care for and reduce the risk of COVID-19.”

First up for the vaccine are the primates: seven gorillas and 15 chimpanzees.

Along with the post were two pictures showing a gorilla and a chimpanzee getting their shot.

“The great relationship between our animals and keepers is evident by how they voluntarily present their arms for the injection,” the zoo wrote.

Zoo officials said several months ago that after the primates receive their COVID-19 shots, the next group of animals to get vaccinated will be lions, cougars, wolves and bears.

WGHP contributed to this report

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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