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Louisville Zoo animals receive COVID-19 vaccine

The Zoo was one of 70 zoos chosen to receive uniquely formulated COVID-19 vaccines from animal healthcare company Zoetis.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Animals at the Louisville Zoo injected with uniquely formulated COVID-19 vaccines. The Zoo started the vaccinations on Friday after receiving a number of doses from the animal healthcare company Zoetis 

The donated Zoetis vaccine is a two-shot series, and the Louisville Zoo is one of 70 zoos to receive the vaccine. It has been authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of State Veterinarian for Kentucky.

“Based on continued cases being reported in zoo animals around the world, and our own experience with the snow leopards, we are eager to get our most susceptible animals vaccinated,” Louisville Zoo Senior Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi said. “Vaccination against preventable infectious diseases is a vital part of our preventative healthcare program.”

The animal healthcare team will closely monitor all animals receiving the vaccine for any atypical reactions. Keeper staffs who work directly with animals continue to wear PPE to safeguard the health of susceptible species. 

In December 2020, the Zoo’s three snow leopards tested positive for the virus. All three were quarantined, cleared the virus, and were fully recovered by January 2021. 

The Louisville Zoo said the administration of the vaccine begins Friday. 

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