No Covid vaccinations for pets because they aren't a priority

NEWS AND COMMENT: We, the public, know that lions, tigers and bears have been given Covid vaccinations. This tells us unequivocally that there is a Covid vaccine for animals, specifically zoo animals. This is because zookeepers who have been infected with Covid transmit the disease to captive animals at their zoo. This is important because the animals are valuable. They are an asset to the zoo and that asset needs to be protected with a vaccine.

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Free pet care clinic Seattle 2020. Ruth Fremson / The New York Times

However, despite the knowledge of an effective vaccination for animals, vaccines are unavailable for dogs and cats. This is simply because, on my understanding, that dogs and cats are de-prioritised.

The experts think that cats and dogs do not transmit Covid to their owners and other people living in their homes. One veterinarian, Dr. Elizabeth Lennon, working out of the University of Pennsylvania said that she is frequently asked when a vaccination will be made available for domestic cats and dogs.

The answer is that pets are simply not a priority according to experts. Dr. Lennon said that:

"To date, there hasn’t been any documented cases of dogs or cats spreading the virus to people."

And Dr. Will Sander, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said that the risk of the disease spreading in pets is so low that any vaccine would not be worth giving.

RELATED: Can domestic cats transmit Covid?

This is a question of economics and finance and whether people can be bothered to vaccinate companion animals. At the moment the answer is that it is not worth vaccinating them.

My research does not specify absolutely that the vaccines given to zoo animals can be used on domestic animals. However, I can't see any reason why a vaccine used on a big cat like a tiger can't be used on a domestic cat. This is because they are exactly the same anatomically with some very minor differences excluding the size difference which is obvious. 😀.

But the point is that they are the same and they have the same physiology, so I would like someone to tell me why the vaccines made available to zoos in America can't also be made available to veterinarians. Is that such a big ask?

Even if the vaccine is de-prioritised for pets, it is hardly a great difficulty or burden to distribute it a little more widely to veterinarians.

Source: Seattle Times.

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