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Answer Questions About Pilots’ Health, Possible Effects of COVID-19 Shots

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is pressing a federal agency to answer questions about pilots’ health following COVID-19 vaccinations.

In a Jan. 27 letter shared exclusively with The Epoch Times, Johnson revealed that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told him that a controversial change in a heart-test standard had “nothing to do with COVID vaccinations.”

The Epoch Times reported earlier this week that the FAA’s decision to change an electrocardiogram test standard known as the “PR interval” had stirred controversy.

That EKG reading is an indicator of heart health. By itself, an elevated PR interval doesn’t mean there is definitely a problem. But several cardiologists have publicly stated that further investigation is warranted at levels above 200 milliseconds. Other cardiologists aren’t so alarmed by the FAA’s changing the acceptable limit to 300 milliseconds.

Some people suspect that the PR interval change was related to cardiac health issues that pilots may have experienced because of the COVID-19 vaccinations. The FAA has declared the shots are safe for pilots to use and that they can fly 48 hours after receiving a COVID-19 injection.

What About These Pilots?

Despite the FAA’s denial of any connection between COVID-19 shots and the standard being changed, Johnson said, “questions still remain regarding the FAA’s decision to issue this change and its awareness of adverse events connected to the COVID-19 vaccines.”

He listed a half-dozen pilots whose sudden afflictions could be tied to the shots, saying, “It remains unclear what, if anything, the FAA has done as it relates to these individuals’ experiences or if it is actively monitoring COVID-19 vaccine adverse events in the aviation industry.”

Johnson noted that, as of Jan. 13, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) recorded more than 1.5 million adverse effects and 33,746 deaths “associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.” In addition, a Department of Defense (DOD) whistleblower provided Johnson’s office with data “showing an increase in disease and injuries in pilots across the DOD in years 2020-2022 compared to years 2016-2019.”

These statistics “raise questions as to whether FAA has seen similar increases in disease and injuries in individuals in the aviation industry,” Johnson wrote.

Logo of FDA
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in White Oak, Md., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

The letter asks the FAA to answer eight specific questions by Feb. 10. Johnson wants to know what the FAA has done to investigate the reports of possible COVID-19 adverse events among pilots.

In addition, he noted that on Dec. 12, 2020, the FAA approved the Pfizer shots for pilots—just one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an “emergency use authorization” for that version of the vaccine. “Please provide all records relating to how FAA made this determination,” he wrote.

The FAA, in its Jan. 20 response to Johnson’s inquiry about the PR interval change, said, “new scientific evidence enabled the FAA to safely raise the tolerance used to screen for a certain heart condition.”

The agency’s full response to Johnson is copied in his letter.

But Johnson is seeking a specific justification for the PR interval change. He also wants the agency to answer this question: “How many individuals are certified to fly that have PR intervals greater than 0.21 seconds?”

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