FACT CHECK: Does Canada Prohibit Pilots Who Received COVID-19 Vaccines From Flying?
An image shared on Facebook claims Canada prohibits all pilots who received COVID-19 vaccines from flying.
The Canadian government allows pilots who have received Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines to fly.
The image shows the headline of a July 11 post from the website Alt News that reads, “Canada Prohibits All Vaxxed Pilots From Flying. The Corona Vax Is A ‘Medical Trial’ And Such ‘Vaccinations’ Are Ruled To Ground All Pilots.” (RELATED: Viral Post Claims Fox News Isn’t Available In Canada)
Below the headline, there is a screen grab of the Canadian government’s website from the Transport Canada section titled “COVID-19 vaccines and Aviation Medical Certificate holders.” A highlighted line in the screen grab states that “participation in medical trials is not considered compatible with aviation medical certification.”
While the post attempts to allege that all Canadian pilots who received COVID-19 vaccines are prohibited from flying because the vaccines are supposedly considered a “medical trial,” that is not the case. The Canadian government’s website explicitly states that COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada “are considered compatible with Transport Canada aviation Medical Certification.” That means pilots who received them are allowed to fly.
Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. The Canadian government’s website states, “Only vaccines that are proven to be safe, effective and of high quality are authorized for use in Canada. The COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested during their development and then carefully reviewed by Health Canada.”
Sau Sau Liu, a spokesperson for Transport Canada, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the post’s claim is inaccurate, saying, “Transport Canada does not prohibit pilots vaccinated with Health Canada-approved vaccines to fly nor do we impose grounding periods for aviators who wish to take vaccines approved by Health Canada.” The Transport Canada section of the Canadian government’s website also states, “Transport Canada (TC) Civil Aviation Medicine (CAM), does not impose grounding periods for aviators who wish to take vaccines approved by Health Canada.”
“All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Canada have gone through clinical trials and been tested on tens of thousands of adult volunteers before being authorized for use,” Liu also said. “They were deemed to be safe and effective and have been licensed and authorized by Health Canada. They are not medical trials.”
The notice about it being the “general position of TC CAM that participation in medical trials is not considered compatible with aviation medical certification” on the webpage was included earlier in the pandemic “when aviators started asking if they could take part in the vaccine trials that Health Canada was undertaking prior to the approval of the vaccines for general distribution,” according to Liu.
Liu told Check Your Fact that because Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccines for use and the notice about medical trials “is less relevant,” Transport Canada has since removed it from the webpage.