British Airways hasn’t told their pilots they don’t need Covid-19 vaccine

23 June 2021
What was claimed

The recent deaths of four British Airways pilots could be linked to the Covid-19 vaccines.

Our verdict

There is no evidence that the deaths were linked in any way, and no information has been provided about their vaccination status.

What was claimed

British Airways have released a statement telling their pilots that they do not need to have a Covid-19 vaccine.

Our verdict

British Airways has confirmed it has not released any statement regarding Covid-19 vaccines to their pilots.

What was claimed

Some airlines are not allowing vaccinated passengers to fly.

Our verdict

There is no evidence airlines are planning to ban vaccinated passengers, and no record of airlines meeting to discuss the possibility of this happening.

A post on Facebook claims that British Airways has released a statement telling their pilots that they don’t need to have a Covid-19 vaccine, and other airlines are not allowing people to fly who have had a vaccine. 

Like other posts we’ve recently checked, the claims made in this post are based on the news that four British Airways pilots have recently died. The airline has confirmed this on social media, and a picture of four books of condolences, which appear to be genuine, have been widely circulated online. 

British Airways recently told Full Fact that “there is no truth whatsoever in the claims on social media speculating that the four deaths are linked”, after claims that the deaths were linked to Covid-19 vaccines emerged. 

British Airways has confirmed that it has not released a statement telling pilots that they do not need to have a Covid-19 vaccine, as the post claims. It said it has made no changes to guidance which says vaccines are a personal choice. 

The post also claims that some of the airlines are “not letting people who’ve had one of the brands” of Covid-19 vaccine fly. This claim seems to originate from a Dutch article published on 26 May, which claims “airlines are now discussing their liability and what to do with the vaccinated as they are not allowed to fly because it is a health risk” and a Russian article, published 31 May, which says (in translation) that vaccinated people “may be banned from flying”. No evidence is given to substantiate either claim. 

A similar article also appeared on a Swiss website, which linked to a Spanish article claiming (in translation) that “the main airlines in the world are discussing whether it is advisable to admit vaccinated customers”. Again, no evidence was provided for this claim and other fact checkers such as the Associated Press and Reuters found no record of meetings or discussions between airlines regarding this. 

These articles draw links between vaccinated people flying and the risk of developing blood clots.The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has identified a possible link between a type of extremely rare blood clot occurring together with low levels of platelets and the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. 

Allen Cheng, director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health in Melbourne, told ABC’s Fact Check team that this is a different type of blood clot to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is associated with sitting still for long periods of time, for example during a flight.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because there is no evidence the British Airways pilots died as a result of the Covid-19 vaccines, and claims made about airlines banning vaccinated passengers and British Airways releasing a statement telling pilots they don’t have to get the vaccine are not true.

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