The agency will require aviation professionals with medical certifications or medical clearances to observe a period of 48 hours following the administration of this vaccine before conducting safety-sensitive aviation duties, such as flying or controlling air traffic.
Because the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart for maximum effectiveness, this waiting period applies after each dose.
No additional measures for possible side effects
The FAA anticipates taking no additional measures to ensure safety after the initial window for side effects closes. 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.
The FAA will evaluate vaccines from other manufacturers as they receive FDA authorization in the coming weeks and months and will advise pilots and air traffic controllers of any waiting periods required for those vaccines. The FAA applies similar brief waiting periods after administration of other vaccines, including those for tuberculosis and typhoid.
The FAA encourages Americans to receive Covid-19 vaccinations as authorized by the FDA. This policy announcement pertains to a specialized group of FAA-certificated professionals who perform safety-sensitive aviation duties.
The airborne special missions industry has been affected in different ways by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the hope the vaccine provides is that in the near to mid-term, some kind of normality can be achieved. For now, however, the industry continues to face myriad challenges in sectors including maintenance, repair and overhaul, as detailed by AirMed&Rescue in the latest issue.