The government has issued a medical circular stating that pilots and airline crew would be temporarily deemed “unfit” for flying immediately after being vaccinated for Covid-19. The detailed guidelines on “temporary unfitness for flying” following Covid-19 vaccination have been issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Under this, the airline’s crew will be ‘medically unfit for flying’ for 48 hours after the vaccination. If there are no symptoms after 48 hours, the aircrew would be fit to resume ‘unrestricted’ flying duties.
Aircrew will be monitored for 30 minutes at the vaccination centre for any anaphylactic or idiosyncratic reaction, as is the norm. The DGCA has spelled out the need to closely monitor the pilot after vaccination. If pilots experience any symptoms, they’ll have to be medically reviewed by the company doctor and will be able to resume duties only after being completely asymptomatic and without any medicines. A ‘medically cured’ certificate will have to be obtained, the DGCA said.
The DGCA circular states that if pilots continue to experience any symptoms beyond 14 days post Covid-19 vaccination, a ‘special medical examination’ will be required to ascertain fitness for flying.
Airlines we spoke to have confirmed that have received these medical guidelines issued by the DGCA. The domestic airlines companies are planning the vaccination process for their crews soon. They have also written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, urging them to prioritise aviation crew for vaccination, considering they’ve been on the frontline during the pandemic.
Airline sources told CNN-News18 that they will get the crew vaccinated as and when it will happen and will accordingly follow the DGCA’s guidelines after that. IndiGo said it will be taking care of the vaccination costs for its crew and will ensure the process doesn’t disrupt operations. “We are working towards facilitating the Covid-19 vaccination to all our employees in a streamlined manner so as to ensure that all our staff get vaccinated while also making sure that our operations are not affected during the process. We will sponsor the vaccines for our staff and will facilitate it for their families,” IndiGo spokesperson told CNN-News18.