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Scientists believe dogs and cats may require a vaccine for COVID-19

Dog at vets dog-wow
© Pixabay

Our furry friends may need their own vaccination programme to help contain the spread of coronavirus, according to leading scientists from some of the UK's top universities.

By Ashley Murphy

Published on the 27/01/2021, 13:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:23

Almost ten months after the UK went into lockdown, there's finally some light at the end of the tunnel. As of now, around 7million people have received the COVID-19 vaccine. The government is aiming to offer every person in the UK a vaccine by summer.

But some scientists think we may have to extend the vaccination plan further than previously thought. And that would include a special immunisation programme for cats and dogs. 

Stopping the spread

At the moment, there isn't too much concern over the virus transmitting between pets and their humans. In fact, a number of experts believe there is little chance of it passing between our fur kids and us. But this could quickly change as the virus continues to mutate. 

Are yearly vaccinations for dogs really necessary?

Professor van Oosterhout, head of evolutionary genetics at the University of East Anglia, believes we should prepare for every possible scenario.

"It's not an obvious risk yet," said the Professor. "[But] it makes sense to develop vaccines for pets as a precaution to reduce this risk."

Stick to the guidelines

Some countries, including Russia, are already developing vaccines for pets. However, there's no detail on their effectiveness or when the UK may start working on its own pet vaccine. 

So for now, just keep following advice from the specialists. Wash your hands before and after contact with your pet, don't share food, and avoid snuggle time if you're self-isolating.

See also: 'Reject" guide dogs are put to good use in the fight against Covid-19