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Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine approved for pilots, controllers

Pilots and air traffic controllers can take the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the FAA announced February 27, the same day that the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth microbiologist Kerry Pollard performs a manual extraction of the coronavirus inside the extraction lab at the Pennsylvania Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories on Friday, March 6, 2020. Scientists and researchers have developed vaccines for COVID-19, and the FAA recently approved a third vaccine for pilots and air traffic controllers to take. Photo courtesy The Office of Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania.

The FAA had previously approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Pilots and controllers must wait 48 hours after receiving the vaccine before flying or controlling air traffic. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one dose, necessitating just one 48-hour wait period. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines both require two doses, and the FAA requires a 48-hour wait period after each vaccine dose.

“The FAA’s medical professionals will continuously monitor the initial distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and will adjust the recommendations as needed,” the agency said.

The policy applies to those with FAA medical certificates or medical clearances.

The FAA reiterated that it would consider other coronavirus vaccines that the FDA might approve in the future. The agency has been quick to release policy statements on the vaccines, following FDA emergency use authorization.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: COVID19, Advocacy, Pilot Health and Medical Certification

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