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One-month-old white Bengal tiger is vaccinated on July 29, 2021 in Nantong, Jiangsu Province of China. Photo: Xu Peiqin/VCG via Getty Images.

The Maryland Zoo announced Tuesday that it will begin vaccinating certain animals that have been proven to be vulnerable to COVID-19.

Details: The vaccine, which has been specifically modified for animals, will be administered to "North American river otters, the chimpanzees and our cat species – Amur leopard, cheetah, bobcat, and lion," according to the announcement.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture and state veterinarian have permitted vaccine use on animals on a case-by-case basis.
  • None of the animals at the zoo have tested positive for COVID-19 but "the vaccine will add another layer of protection for the animals in our care," said Dr. Ellen Bronson, the zoo's senior director of animal health, conservation, and research.

The big picture: Several zoos throughout the country have already administered vaccines to animals, including the San Diego Zoo and the Oakland Zoo.

Go deeper

Harris tests negative after contact with staff member who has COVID

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative for COVID-19 on Wednesday after being in contact with a staff member who has tested positive for the virus, according to a statement released on Wednesday afternoon.

Driving the news: "As a part of that regular testing, the Vice President received an antigen test this morning and tested negative," said Symone Sanders, Harris' senior adviser and chief spokesperson, adding that Harris also received a PCR test that came back negative.

Dec 22, 2021 - Health

FDA authorizes first pill to treat COVID at home

Paxlovid. Photo courtesy of Pfizer Inc.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized Pfizer's antiviral pill for the treatment of individuals at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Why it matters: At-home COVID-19 treatments, especially Pfizer's Paxlovid, are seen as possible game-changers for the pandemic. The emergency use authorization comes as the U.S. sees a surge in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations largely driven by the Omicron variant.

Updated Dec 23, 2021 - Health

Supreme Court schedules Jan. 7 oral arguments on Biden's vaccine mandates

President Biden during a meeting at the White House on Dec. 22. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will hold oral arguments on Jan. 7 to consider legal challenges to President Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers and large companies.

Why it matters: The mandates have faced a series of lawsuits from Republican-led states, businesses and religious coalitions.