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FAA Approves Moderna Vaccine for Pilots and ATC

Just a week after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for pilots and air traffic controllers subject to medical clearance. The National Airspace System will require pilots and air traffic controllers to observe a 48-hour no-fly period after each dose before the pilot or air traffic controller can resume safety-sensitive aviation duties, such as flying or controlling air traffic.

Because the vaccine requires two doses, 28 days apart for maximum effectiveness, the waiting period applies after each dose. The Pfizer vaccine, which was approved last week, requires two doses after only 21 days apart. The waiting period applies after each dose for both brands.

“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 statement said.

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.