FAA authorises Covid-19 vaccine for pilots and controllers


Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine has been approved by the FAA for use amongst pilots under the conditions of their airman medical certification. The news came a day after the US food and drug administration (FDA) gave emergency authorisation for the vaccine to be used in the country. What’s more, the FAA also said air traffic controllers subject FAA medical clearance can also receive the vaccine.

Upon receiving the vaccine, the FAA have stipulated all pilots and controllers must wait 48 hour following administration before conducting “safety-sensitive aviation duties” — flying or controlling air traffic. This 48 hour waiting period applies after each dose and the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, three weeks apart for maximum effectiveness.

“The FAA anticipates taking no additional measures to ensure safety after the initial window for side effects closes,” it said. “However, the agency’s medical professionals will continuously monitor the initial distribution of the novel vaccine and documented clinical results and will adjust these recommendations as needed.”

As well as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the FAA said it will analyse vaccines from other manufacturers as they receive FDA authorisation and will advise pilots and air traffic controllers of any waiting periods required for those vaccines.