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Blank Park Zoo to vaccinate high-risk animals for COVID-19

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 11:14 AM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - The Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines is ready to begin vaccinating high-risk animals against COVID-19.

So far, the animals have remained COVID-19-free, and the zoo says it wants it to stay that way.

The two-dose Zoetis vaccine is based on the human COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s formulated to work on animals.

Zoo spokesperson Ryan Bickel said animals are susceptible to COVID just like humans.

The first of the 40 doses will go to the most high-risk animals like lions and tigers.

Other animals in line for a shot include the giraffes and rhinos.

The zoo says the vaccine appears to be safe.

“It’s been widely used in mink farming. Millions of doses. Also, hundreds of zoo animals have already been inoculated and no reported cases of bad outcomes, Bickel said.

The zoo will give out the first doses in the next few weeks and then expand the number of doses when more vaccines arrives.

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