Irish carrier Aer Lingus is reminding its flight crews that they are prohibited from getting vaccinated in the United States during their on-duty stopovers in the country. The airline, whose intercontinental service is largely transatlantic, states that crews cannot travel for 48 hours after being vaccinated due to a risk of developing adverse side effects.
Possible side effects for those recently vaccinated
According to Independent.ie, Aer Lingus is reminding its employees that they cannot get vaccinated during their work stopovers in the United States. News had emerged that some crews had been doing so, prompting the airline to issue the reminder.
Staff have been told by airline management that they cannot travel for 48 hours after getting vaccinated due to a risk of developing adverse side effects. Reactions, which could include fever and tiredness, would render crews unfit for duty.
The airline provided us with the following statement:
“This is to allow time for any side effects to wear off and to ensure crew are fully fit for duty. As a result, Aer Lingus crew are unable to receive a vaccination for Covid-19 if in the US on duty.
Crew are asked to adhere to all medical advice given by the [Health Service Executive] and their medical provider in relation to vaccinations.”
-Aer Lingus statement
Sources note that Aer Lingus has not disclosed the number of staff found to have been vaccinated in the US while on company duty. Simple Flying reached out to Aer Lingus for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
In line with EASA recommendations
It was at the end of March that EASA recommended that aircrew should wait between two and three days after getting a vaccine dose before engaging in any “flight-related tasks.” The European aviation safety regular adds side effects “may be further enhanced by in-flight conditions while at cruise level, such as lower air pressure and mild hypoxic environment.”
With these risks in mind, EASA recommends the following:
- Operators and aircrew members should consider a waiting period of 48 hours after each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before engaging in any flight-related tasks.
- This interval could be extended to 72 hours for aircrew members performing single crew operations.
EASA adds that aircrew members should consult with aeromedical examiners (AMEs) if side effects persist for more than two days after a vaccination. AMEs should therefore encourage aircrew to consult them when it comes to vaccinations and their side effects.
Vaccine abundance in the US
While much of the world continues to deal with COVID-19 vaccine shortages and slow roll-outs, the United States has experienced the opposite problem. A speedy rollout combined with vaccine hesitancy has resulted in an abundant supply with a shortage of willing participants.
These factors have led to news that various groups have been offering free things as a reward for getting vaccinated. This has included free beer (or coffee) at locations in Nashville, french fries in New York, and Krispy Kreme donuts nationwide. One of the more outlandish initiatives has been the state of Ohio offering vaccine participants a chance to win $1 million through a special lottery.
“I know that some may say, ‘DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money…But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic – when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it – is a life lost to COVID-19.” -Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio via ABC News
As a move to boost tourism, New York City (an Aer Lingus destination) is offering vaccinations to overseas visitors, with popular tourist spots like Times Square being used as vaccination sites.
What do you think of airline crews getting vaccinated while on stopovers? Could it be made possible with some schedule adjustments? Let us know in the comments.