(Photo by Jeffrey Eisen on Unsplash)

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Maryland Zoo will vaccinate certain animals that have been proven to be susceptible to COVID-19, officials said Tuesday.

“We have not had any cases of COVID-19 in the animals here, but the vaccine will add another layer of protection for the animals in our care,” Dr. Ellen Bronson, the zoo’s senior director of animal health, conservation and research, said in a news release.

Bronson said the zoo expects to receive the vaccine in the fall from Zoetis. The animal health company is donating more than 11,000 doses of its animal-specific vaccine to help protect more than 100 species of mammals at nearly 70 zoos, according to news outlets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and state veterinarians have authorized the vaccine for case-by-case use.

Animals that the Maryland Zoo plans to vaccinate include the North American river otters and the chimpanzees. Cat species — the Amur leopard, cheetah, bobcat and lion — are also on the list.

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