Washington State University’s Rabies Free Africa launched the Rabies Hero campaign today to raise national awareness about potential disease outbreaks in animals as people miss routine veterinary care appointments during COVID-19.

“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we are encouraging veterinary professionals to host essential vaccination clinics to prevent secondary outbreaks of diseases like parvovirus, distemper, and most importantly rabies,” said Guy Palmer, founder of Rabies Free Africa. “We utilize the world advocacy campaign of eliminating rabies in September as an opportunity to focus on essential vaccines for pets, to prevent outbreaks in many communities.”

Beyond preventing secondary disease outbreaks in animals, essential vaccination clinics help people in the community who may be struggling with financial hardship. Rabies Hero veterinary partners host the vaccination clinic that works best to help clients, fit company culture, and meet community needs while adhering to state and local guidelines to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Several local animal shelters, nonprofits and government entities participating in the Rabies Hero campaign are working together to create a multi-site vaccination clinic for World Rabies Day, Sept. 28. The goal is to get pets owned by people who are low-income or experiencing homelessness updated on recommended vaccines – including rabies.

“This cause is very important to me and to our profession. People are starting to more widely understand zoonotic diseases. As veterinarians, we can – and should – stand up and show how we are making a difference to protect animals and people. For the Rabies Hero campaign during the month of September we are increasing our normal donation to $5 per rabies vaccine to Rabies Free Africa and hosting a vaccination clinic.” Dr. Greg Benoit, owner of SouthCare Animal Medical Center in Spokane, Washington.

For more information please visit the Rabies Hero Campaign and the WSU Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.

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