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American Airlines Regional Carrier Told Pilots to Delay Getting COVID-19 Vaccine

American Airlines Regional Carrier Told Pilots to Delay Getting COVID-19 Vaccine

A regional airline that is wholly owned by American Airlines asked pilots to delay getting the COVID-19 vaccine due to increased passenger demand according to an internal memo and insider sources at the carrier. The issue has arisen due to additional safety rules imposed on pilots by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over how they receive their vaccinations.

Piedmont Airlines which operates American Eagle branded regional services told pilots that they would have to reschedule vaccine appointments due to a surge in passenger demand according to an internal memo seen by CBS News.

“Piedmont will be unable to release any additional pilots for COVID vaccination for the weekend of March 19-21 due to high demand,” wrote the airline’s chief pilot John Pursell in one memo sent last Wednesday.

Pursell told pilots that in order to maintain “operational reliability” they should “attempt to schedule later in the month”.

The FAA has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for pilots and air traffic controllers but requires these workers to wait at least 48-hours after receiving their jab before returning to work.

In a statement, the FAA said the waiting period would help “maintain the highest level of safety” by allowing those conducting safety-sensitive aviation duties to fully recover from any side-effects of the vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines can cause chills, tiredness and a headache and that while these side effects are generally mild, they can affect someones ability to carry out even basic day-to-day activities.

Generally speaking, these side effects are worse after the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

U.S. airlines have been encouraging some employees to take the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it will result in less downtime.

Piedmont says that is encourages all employees to get vaccinated but that a surge in travel demand was making it difficult to release pilots from their duties. “While we encourage every pilot to get vaccinated, the requirement to wait 48-hours before returning to flight duty is causing serious crew coverage concerns,” another memo told pilots.

In January, American Airlines told mainline pilots to schedule their shots during their own time and accounting for the FAA-imposed 48-hour waiting period. Piedmont has a similar policy but a spokesperson said the airline was “doing our best to offer flexibility while serving the needs of our customers.”

View Comments (4)
  • This level of intentional dishonesty can, and should, get you sued for libel. 1. You critically omit the word “allegedly” from the title. 2. I’m so doing, you strongly insinuate or outright assert that the company is “discouraging” employees from the vaccine across the board, and force the reader to parse your article to find the truth that the airline is only requiring that pilots schedule their vaccines so as not to disrupt airline operations, which is perfectly reasonable.

    You are playing a dangerous legal game here if your readership gets above a certain level and your antics become known to those who you libel. Being organized outside of the US won’t necessarily help you in this regard. But all that aside, nice clickbait, bruh.

    • Hi there Wes, thanks for your comment. I can assure you that there is no dishonesty in this article. The headline refers to reporting from CBS News which is clearly linked to in the article.

  • Good! Why would you get a vaccine (actually gene therapy) that’s 95% effective against a virus that is 99.998% ineffective at killing you—ludicrous

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