By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Saturday it had approved the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by pilots and air traffic controllers.
The announcement follows the FAA's Dec. 12 approval for pilots and controllers to use the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech
The U.S. aviation regulator said pilots and controllers must not fly or conduct safety-related duties for 48 hours after receiving doses. The FAA said it "will monitor the patient response to each vaccine dose and may adjust this policy as necessary to ensure aviation safety."
On Thursday, groups representing aviation unions and American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other airlines, wrote all U.S. governors asking them to "prioritize aviation frontline workers for allocation of the vaccine in your upcoming implementation plan."
The groups noted that "aviation workers are frontline workers who either encounter the traveling public frequently or are required to perform our work in close proximity to our colleagues and perform our jobs onsite."
Earlier this month, the FAA sent guidance to airports to prepare for vaccine distribution, including other facilities that may serve as alternate or diversion airports.
The FAA said that some aircraft used for vaccine shipments may be larger than the aircraft used for passenger-carrying flights that typically serve that airport and operators may opt to have extra aircraft rescue and firefighting services.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Grant McCool)