The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for pilots and air traffic controllers.

On December 18, 2020, the FAA issued an emergency use authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The authority confirmed that pilots with medical certifications and air traffic controllers, who are subject to FAA medical clearance, may receive the Moderna’s vaccine. 

The FAA requires pilots and controllers to not conduct safety-sensitive aviation duties, such as flying or controlling air traffic, for a period of 48 hours after receiving a vaccine. As the vaccination process requires two doses, the waiting period will apply both times. The agency said it would be monitoring the distribution and the clinical results of the new vaccine. 

On December 12, 2020, the FAA issued an approval for pilots and controllers to use the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech. 

On December 17, 2020, representatives from aviation unions and American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other airlines, wrote to all US governors asking them to “prioritize aviation frontline workers for allocation of the vaccine in your upcoming implementation plan,” reported Reuters. The groups advocated for aviation workers to be considered as frontline workers who are required to work in close proximity with travelers and colleagues. 

Moderna’s vaccine distribution in the US began on December 19, 2020. The US company distributing the vaccine, McKesson, has partnered with FedEx and UPS who will help deliver the vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine is available in smaller quantities of 100 doses and can be stored for 30 days in refrigerator temperature, whereas Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be shipped and stored at -70 degrees Celsius.

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