Chile vets fined for giving dog vaccines against COVID-19

Chile vets fined for giving dog vaccines against COVID-19

04/22/2021

Chile veterinarians fined over using dog vaccines on workers, including a vet employee and her family, claiming it would fight Covid-19

  • Maria Fernanda Muñoz , who owns veterinary clinic in Chile, was fined for giving a vaccine for dogs to four people to protect them against COVID-19
  • Carlos Prado, who also owns a clinic for animals, was fined for promoting the canine vaccine use on human beings on Facebook in September 2020
  • Muñoz defended the vaccine’s use, which was applied in 2020 to a married couple, including a woman who works at her clinic
  • The health department for the province of Antofagasta said at least 75 workers from a local mine and a hospital got the canine vaccine shots
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of 25,353 people in Chile 

Two veterinarians in Chile have been accused of applying or promoting dog vaccines to people, falsely claiming it offered protection against COVID-19.

According to the health department for the northern province of Antofagasta, at least 100 workers at a mine and a hospital received the Octuple immunization shots.

Antofagasta Deputy Health Secretary Roxana Díaz said her agency got a report that workers at Maria Fernanda Muñoz’s veterinary practice in the city of Calama weren’t using masks and clients were told it was because the staff was vaccinated.

In an interview Tuesday with the government’s 24 Horas television channel, Muñoz acknowledged giving herself a vaccine meant to protect dogs, not humans, from Covid, on two separate occasions. She claimed that it was effective. 

‘I did not provide vaccinations. If the vaccine is so bad, if it didn’t do anything to me, why doesn’t the Health Department really come and test if my blood has antibodies or not?’ Muñoz said. 

Maria Fernanda Muñoz is one of two veterinarians in Chile who have been fined for providing or promoting dog vaccines as false protection against COVID-19. Muñoz admitted to administering herself two doses of the canine vaccine and applying the shot to a worker at her practice as well as the employee’s husband and two daughters

July Pereira said that she, her husband and the couple’s two daughters were also immunized by Maria Fernanda Muñoz, the veterinarian who she works for. She and her family did not report any side effects from receiving the dog vaccine as a protection against being infected with COVID-19

July Pereira, who is diabetic, told the network said that she, her husband and the couple’s two daughters also got the dog vaccine from Muñoz, for whom she works as a clinic administrator.  

She said she was aware it was for dogs and the family decided to get it because of concerns about her husband working in close proximity to so many people at his job. 

Both Muñoz and Pereira said they didn’t have any adverse reactions to the vaccine shots.  

The shots were applied last year, before any COVID-19 vaccines had been approved in Chile. 

‘The vaccines that are administered in dogs are specifically for dogs. They cannot be applied to a human being,’ Calama veterinarian Paulina Carrasco told 24 Horas.

Medical treatment of animals has been temporarily suspended at a veterinary in Calama, Chile, where its owner used a vaccine for dogs on her herself and four other people

A veterinary clinic operated by Carlos Prado remains closed after the health department in the northern Chilean province of Antofagasta fined him for promoting the use of canine vaccine to immunize humans against COVID-19

The U.S. based VCA veterinary hospital chain includes a reference on its website warning against confusing the new human coronavirus – one of a broad family of viruses that affects many species – with another specific type of virus that is targeted by canine vaccines.

According to the Center for Disease Control, cats and dogs across the globe have contracted the coronavirus after coming into contact with people who were infected. The CDC says that the risk of a pet spreading the virus to people is ‘considered to be low.’

Díaz said another veterinarian, Carlos Pardo, also promoted use of the canine vaccine for humans on his Facebook page in September 2020.

According to a local veterinary’s website, the Octuple vaccine is administered on dogs for the first time during their first two months of life and once again in the third and fourth month. Dog should get additional doses every year thereafter.

The vaccine can be used to treat canine parvovirus, canine distemper or distemper, canine infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis, canine tracheobronchitis or kennel cough, and coronavirus infection.   

The health department fined Pardo the equivalent of about $9,200 and Muñoz about $10,300. Both have appealed.

Police officers arrive at a meeting point in the Plaza de Armas to start a day of checking people’s transit permissions as part of lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday.

A funeral worker removes empty coffins that held remains that were later cremated, at La Recoleta cemetery in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Andean nation reported 25,353 confirmed deaths and 1,141,403 cases as of Thursday, according to data from John Hopkins University.

‘The truth is, it’s very dangerous,’ Díaz said. ‘There are studies that say the effects can be local – irritation caused by the medications it has – or systemic. But we haven’t done a study of what happens inoculating a person with canine vaccines because that would be unethical.’ 

Chile has now vaccinated 7.7 million of its 19 million people with at least one dose of legitimate COVID-19 vaccines.

The Andean nation reported 25,353 confirmed deaths and 1,141,403 cases as of Thursday, according to data from John Hopkins University.

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