BOSTON (WHDH) - Zoo New England staff has begun vaccinating species susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

The highest risk species at Zoo New England include primates, lions, tigers, snow leopards, ferrets, and North American river otters.

“While we have not had any cases of COVID-19 with the animals at Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo, this vaccine is an important preventative health measure to protect species that are susceptible to contracting the virus,” said Dr. Chris Bonar, Senior Veterinarian in Zoo New England’s Animal Health Department.

The animals are receiving a two-dose vaccine developed by Zoetis, which has donated more than 11,000 doses to nearly 70 zoos.

“It’s very similar to the process in humans they get two injections approximately a month apart,” said Bonar.

It is estimated that it will take three to four months to fully vaccinate all of the at-risk species at Franklin Park Zoo and Stone Zoo.

All animals will be monitored closely for any signs of a vaccine reaction; however, there have not been any adverse reactions reported from other zoos.

As for pets, former President of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, Dr. John De Jong says people should not be concerned.

“Because there’s been no transmission from dogs and cats to humans … even in the dog and cat population, it’s been such a very low, minimal amount of reported cases that people should not get too worried about it at this point,” he said.

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