Believe it or not, New York raccoons are about to get vaccinated

In today’s local animal news: New York City raccoons are the subject of the latest vaccine drive, an effort to protect the animals from rabies. 

According to city officials, a total of 18 animals have tested positive for the deadly virus—and not just raccoons. Two skunks in the Bronx were infected, as were a couple of bats and a cat on Staten Island. COVID-19, move away: rabies is back in town.

How is the city going to vaccinate the mammals? The Health Department explained that small, brown baits will be dispersed throughout wooded areas in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. The oral vaccines, which reportedly smell like fish and release a pink liquid when chewed on, will be dropped at these bait stations beginning this week through October. 

Next month, a helicopter will fly over and drop the baits throughout marshy areas on Staten Island as well.

NBC4 reports that the bait isn’t harmful but the liquid inside of it can cause vomiting if “pets eat several of them.” Too bad there’s no way to warn the animals not to over-indulge.

A few things to keep in mind: if you do see a raccoon (which you really shouldn’t, unless it’s extremely dark out), stay out of its way. Do not try to feed it, pet it, play with it or interact with it in any way. You obviously don’t want to be infected with rabies after the years we’ve just spent dealing with a horrific virus that changed the way we live all across the world.

If you happen to come into contact with the actual oral vaccine, do not panic. Officials advise to wash your hands immediately and, if you feel the need to, call your doctor or the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 as a precaution. The inoculation may cause a rash, but that’s unlikely. 

As usual, we’d live to warn everyone to just stay safe. 

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