As expected, the FAA has approved the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for use by controllers and pilots with a 48-hour waiting period. The FDA approved the new vaccine on Saturday and the FAA quickly announced its approval. It’s still adding the rider that the approval could be pulled if problems crop up. The agency said it will “will monitor the patient response to each vaccine dose and may adjust this policy as necessary to ensure aviation safety.” It said the same about the Pfizer vaccine approved last week. Meanwhile, aviation unions are calling for expedited access to all approved vaccines for aviation workers.
On Thursday, most unions representing aviation employees wrote state governors arguing that their members warranted “front-line worker” status in the allocation of vaccines. It asked the states to “prioritize aviation frontline workers for allocation of the vaccine in your upcoming implementation plan.” Also, as the unprecedented logistical operation to distribute vaccines rolls out, the FAA is advising airport authorities to bulk up their safety and ground handling capabilities as many are expected to receive larger than normal aircraft carrying the vaccine.