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After a cull of millions of farmed mink in Denmark that posed a COVID risk, scientists are suggesting that perhaps domestic animals, namely cats and dogs, may need to be vaccinated against coronavirus. 

Yes, we’re all patiently waiting for the vaccine that promises to return life to pre-coronavirus normal. But will the family pet have to get the jab, too? A group of scientists is suggesting that yes, domestic pets may need to be vaccinated against the virus that causes COVID-19.

In an editorial for the journal Virulence, researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA), a Norwich-based research facility the Earlham Institute, and the University of Minnesota, say animal transmission of the virus “poses a significant long-term risk to public health.”

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They continued: “It is not unthinkable that vaccination of some domesticated animal species might be necessary to curb the spread of the infection.”

Last year, Denmark mass culled millions of mink on a fur farm, after it was discovered that hundreds of coronavirus cases were linked with variants associated with the farmed animals.

Professor of evolutionary genetics Cock van Oosterhout said dogs and cats could contract coronavirus, but there have been no known cases linked to those found in humans.

“It makes sense to develop vaccines for pets, for domestic animals, just as a precaution to reduce this risk,” he said.

“What we need to be as a human society, we really need to be prepared for any eventuality when it comes to COVID.

He added: “I think the best way to do this is indeed consider development of vaccines for animals as well.”

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