Do Pets Need a COVID Vaccine?

As Moderna and Pfizer roll out the first round of COVID-19 vaccines for humans, people are wondering—do my pets need one?

By Kelly Lindenau Dec 22, 2020

Throughout the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was much discourse on pets’ susceptibility to the coronavirus. As new information swirls that dogs can be trained identify the coronavirus in humans, people are wondering—does my pet need the vaccine?

The short answer is no, your pet doesn’t need the coronavirus vaccine.

So far, the novel coronavirus is a problem that’s been limited only to humans. While there’s some evidence that pets may become afflicted with the virus, symptoms are mild (if they appear at all). Additionally, there’s no new evidence to support that pets are transmitting the virus, eliminating the need to vaccinate them.

“Cats and dogs don’t play an important role in the maintenance or transmission of the disease to humans,” says William Karesh, executive vice president for health and policy at EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit that tracks emerging diseases in animals. “There’s no need for a vaccine from a public health standpoint.”

To that end, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not approving a COVID-19 vaccine for pets. While scientists are encouraged to research the impact of the disease on pets, there’s no credible evidence that an animal vaccine would provide any value.

However, if you’re worried about your pet becoming sick, you should follow the FDA’s guidelines for keeping pets safe, in addition to keeping emergency kits and instructions on-hand.