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Endangered ferrets get experimental COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado

Dec 26, 2020, 2:03 PM | Updated: 5:38 pm

COVID-19 ferrets...

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2015, file photo, a black-footed ferret looks out of the entrance to a prairie dog tunnel after being let loose during a release of 30 of the animals by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Months before people started getting vaccinated for COVID-19, endangered black-footed ferrets in northern Colorado were injected with an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

Kaiser Health News reports that about 120 animals at the National Black-footed Conservation Center near Fort Collins, Colorado, got the vaccine in late summer.

There haven’t been any cases of COVID-19 there but ferrets are feared to be highly vulnerable to the disease.

Experts say vaccinating vulnerable species against the disease is important for humans too. When animals contract the virus from humans, it can mutate as it spreads rapidly, posing a new threat if it spills back to people.

Ferrets were rescued from the brink of extinction after some were discovered in Wyoming four decades ago.

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How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Endangered ferrets get experimental COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado