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Fact Check-U.S. flight cancellations are not due to adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination

Social media users are sharing posts claiming that flights in the United States are being canceled due to people suffering from adverse events following the COVID-19 vaccine.

An example in a video with more than 338,000 views can be seen here .

The description ( of what?) in the post reads: “Why the flights have been shut down world wide #JustSayNo“

The comments on the post read: “And NO ONE will be held accountable or Compensated...”, “SHUT THEM ALL DOWN! It’s for our safety!” and “if pilots can`t fly because they got the jab neither should the public.”

The video shows attorney Leigh Dundas, an anti-vaccine activist (here), speaking about alleged adverse events experienced by pilots following the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dundas claims in the video that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules prohibit the medical clearance of pilots who have taken non-FDA approved medications.

However, this does not apply to COVID-19 vaccines as the vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech is approved by the FDA, while the vaccines by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been approved for emergency use by the FDA. (here)

The FAA says on its website (here “Holders of FAA-issued Airman Medical Certificates or Medical Clearances may receive the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine; however, a 48-hour no fly/no safety related duty interval must be observed after each dose.”

The FAA explains that individuals with clearance should not perform duties if they do not meet medical certification requirements, including those related to adverse events. More details can be found here .

The FAA told Reuters via email: “The FAA has seen no evidence of aircraft accidents or pilot incapacitations caused by pilots suffering medical complications associated with COVID-19 vaccines.”

Reuters found no evidence that the recent flight cancellations stemmed from pilots receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Reuters reported that more than 4,000 flights were cancelled around the world on Jan. 2, 2021, more than half of them U.S. flights, adding to the toll of holiday week travel disruptions due to adverse weather and the surge in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant (here).

The flights cancelled by 8 pm GMT on Jan. 2, 2021 included more than 2,400 entering, departing from or within the United States, according to tracking website FlightAware.com. Globally, more than 11,200 flights were delayed.

The Christmas and New Year holidays are a peak time for air travel, but the rapid spread of the Omicron variant has led to a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, forcing airlines to cancel flights as pilots and cabin crew quarantine. Transportation agencies across the United States were also suspending or reducing services due to coronavirus-related staff shortages.

Reuters Fact Check has previously debunked similar claims that pilots have died after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (here) and (here).

VERDICT

False. Flights in the United States were recently cancelled due to the spread of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus and COVID-19 related staff shortages.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .         

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