A photo shared on Facebook in South Africa shows a small bottle labelled “Canine Coronavirus Vaccine”.
“Now this was 2001 tell me why 19 years later they say there is no vaccine,” the caption reads.
The vaccine is real, but it’s unrelated to the new coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
The im-paw-tant information
The photo shows the Nobivac Canine 1-Cv vaccine, produced by drug company Merck Animal Health. As its label information says, it is for animal use only.
The vaccine is given to dogs at six weeks old to immunise them against canine coronavirus. As veterinary company VCA explains on their website: “Canine coronavirus (CCoV) is not the same virus as Sars-CoV-2 that causes the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).”
CCoV does not affect people. In dogs, it attacks the digestive system rather than the respiratory system, as Covid-19 does. VCA also makes it clear that the vaccine for CCoV will not prevent Covid-19.
Some coronaviruses spread from people to animals, but no need to avoid pets
Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that the virus that causes Covid-19 is just one of many coronaviruses. The new coronavirus does appear to be similar to certain bat coronaviruses, as the journal Nature reported in February 2020.
It is not unusual for coronaviruses to be “zoonotic”, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans. But as the US Centers for Disease Control has said: “The risk of animals spreading Covid-19 to people is considered to be low.”
There have been cases of animals testing positive for Covid-19, including a pet dog in Hong Kong. But the dog showed no symptoms of the disease, and was not believed to be infectious. The dog probably picked up the virus from its owner.
The canine vaccine pictured in the Facebook post won’t be effective against Covid-19. And there is no evidence that people need to worry about catching either Covid-19 or canine coronavirus from dogs. – Keegan Leech
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