US pilots, air traffic controllers ok’d for Covid vaccine

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The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the green light for pilots and air traffic controllers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

The approval came a day after the Emergency Use Authorisation was issued by the US Food and Drug Administration for Pfizer, Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

“To maintain the highest level of safety in the National Airspace System, 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,” the FAA says.

Because the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart for maximum effectiveness, this waiting period applies after each dose, the regulatory body adds.

The FAA adds that its medical professionals will continuously monitor the initial distribution of the vaccine and documented clinical results and will adjust the recommendations as needed.

The FAA says it will also evaluate vaccines from other manufacturers as they receive FDA authorisation in the coming weeks and months and will advise pilots and air traffic controllers of any waiting periods required for those vaccines.

All members of a specialised group of FAA-certificated professionals who perform safety-sensitive aviation duties are encouraged to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, the FAA says.

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