Tulsa Zoo Giving COVID-19 Vaccines To Mammals


Monday, August 22nd 2022, 6:31 pm



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The Tulsa Zoo started giving COVID-19 vaccines to mammals that they say have the highest risk of catching the virus.

The Zoo said this is just one of several health measures it is taking to keep the animals healthy.

"Giving them the vaccines tells us that their health and their livelihood is important," said Renee Wall.

On the vaccination list are the lions, tigers, bears, jaguars, snow leopards and even chimpanzees.

Joe Barkowski with the Zoo said those specific animal are the most at risk of catching COVID-19 for various reasons.

"Some of that is because they are very similar to people in some ways, but others are just the way the virus works," Barkowski said.

So far 30 animals have already been vaccinated once.

The zoo said all of them will get two doses by the end of September, and it's a job that's actually not as hard as you think.

"The staff works very hard to train the animals to typically accept treatments like this, whether it's to stand still for an injections or to come closer so they can receive an injection," Barkowski said.

Renee Wall said she's glad the animals are getting vaccinated, especially the endangered Malayan Tiger.

She said she loves going to the Zoo as an escape from everything else going on in her life.

"Here we get to see something that really ties into the times that we're living in," Wall said. "So, it's just fascinating to learn something new."

Barkowski said none of the animals are expected to experience any side effects from the COVID vaccine. 

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