TAMPA, Fla. — This week, more Floridians are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as the state lowers the age requirement to 40 years and older, before it opens to all adults next week.
It’s exciting news for ZooTampa.
“We’ve been very, very careful with a lot of precautions for ourselves and also for our guests during this whole pandemic and we’re really excited about these vaccines and being able to get our staff vaccinated,” said Dr. Cynthia Stringfield.
The veterinarian is the Senior Vice President of animal health, conservation and education.
“We have a lot of young staff members. So some of us have been able to be vaccinated already as the different categories have opened up but we have a large percentage of our staff, a lot of our animal care staff, that are younger they haven’t hit that age category yet,” she said.
The zoo is encouraging vaccines, by offering two hours of paid time off for staff to get vaccines, as well as free lunch.
“We’re coming into contact with not only our irreplaceable animals but our community and people that are coming to visit us so it’s our part we can do to try to keep everybody safe,” Stringfield said.
She said they’re also hopeful for a vaccine for animals in the future, too.
“We are having a lot of discussions with the scientific community about not only the known cases, things that have happened in zoos or non-domestic animals or even dogs and cats, but also, hmm who are theoretically might be able to contract this so as hopefully an animal vaccine becomes available we can make some good decisions about who to vaccinate in the animal world as well,” she said.
There have been no cases of COVID-19 in animals at the zoo.