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Potter Park Zoo animals are being vaccinated against COVID-19

Specially made COVID 19 vaccine adds extra layer of protection to vulnerable species
Posted at 7:36 PM, Nov 01, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Potter Park Zoo animals are getting COVID 19 vaccinations.

The vaccines are coming from a Kalamazoo pharmaceutical company called Zoetis.

Zoo officials say they have already given the shots to about 20 animals but are planning to do another round soon.

“We’ll probably give anywhere from 10 to 20 more. Some of the animals we’re still trying to figure out the best way to administer the vaccine,” said Dr. Ronan Eustace.

Eustace says big cats like tigers are very vulnerable to the virus and will get two shots, just like humans, to become fully protected against the virus.

“The animals that are most susceptible are the large cats like the lions, tigers, snow leopards, otters. Binturong have also come up positive and things like non-human primates,” Eustace said.

Visitors like Paul Hickner and his granddaughter, Nora Mae, say giving the animals at Potter Park an extra layer of protection is a good thing.

“They can’t take care of themselves so they rely on us to do that. Especially felines like the big cats they need to be vaccinated because they bring a lot of joy to the kids,” Hickner said.

Eustace said some of the animals are experiencing side effects like soreness at the site of the injection and headaches but have all pulled through.

Zoo officials say none of the animals here have been infected with COVID-19.

Zoetis has sent 70 zoos across the country doses of the vaccine.

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Tianna Jenkins

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