Chilean zoo is 1st in LatAm to vaccinate animals for Covid-19

Santiago, Dec 23 (EFE).- Chile’s largest zoo announced Thursday that it is the first in Latin America to inoculate animals against Covid-19 using an experimental vaccine developed by global animal health care giant Zoetis.

Three lions, three tigers and an orangutan at Buin Zoo in suburban Santiago received their first dose on December 13 and are to get a second injection in several weeks.

The choice of recipients was based on “international evidence” regarding the susceptibility of different species to the virus, the zoo said in a statement.

“It is a great honor to be the first zoo in Latin America to participate in this study and to have some of its animals protected against the virus,” director Ignacio Idalsoaga said.

Having been trained to undergo injections, the animals did not need to be anesthetized for the vaccination.

Buin is using the same experimental formula that was administered in March to nine primates at the San Diego Zoo in the United States.

The animal formula includes the same antigens – substances that activates the body’s immune response – as the human vaccines, but with different carrier proteins,” Zoetis de Chile technical chief Cristian Dunivicher said.

“The unique combination between the antigen and the carrier ensures safety and efficacy,” he said.

It was around this time last year that Chile became the first country in Latin American to begin inoculating humans against the coronavirus.

More than 91 percent of Chilean adults have had two vaccine doses and upwards of 10.5 million of the country’s nearly 18 million inhabitants have had booster shots.

Health authorities said Thursday that a fourth injection will be made available starting in mid-February. EFE mmm/dr

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