Following the Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the FAA has determined that pilots may receive the vaccine under the conditions of their FAA-issued airman medical certification. FAA Air Traffic Controllers, who are subject to FAA medical clearance, may also receive the vaccine.
To maintain the highest level of safety in the National Airspace System, the agency will require pilots with medical certifications or air traffic controllers with medical clearances to observe a period of 48 hours following the administration of each dose of this vaccine before conducting safety-sensitive aviation duties, such as flying or controlling air traffic.
The required waiting period applies to those holding an Airman Medical Certificate issued under 14 CFR Part 67 or a Medical Clearance issued under FAA Order 3930.3C.
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 21 days apart, but the waiting period after each dose applies to 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 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 FDA. This policy announcement pertains to a specialized group of FAA-certificated persons who perform safety-sensitive aviation duties.
For more information, please visit the Medical Certification page at faa.gov.