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Guidance to support the operators risk assessment process

This section aims to facilitate a common understanding for both the air operator and the regulator of the ICAO requirements related to the carriage of vaccines. It is structured around each element the operator is required to consider as part of its specific safety risk assessment and based on Guidance for Safe Operations Involving Aeroplane Cargo Compartments (Doc 10102). However, the carriage of vaccines should not be construed as limited to aeroplane cargo compartments only. When transportation of vaccines in the passenger cabin or use of smaller aircraft without cargo compartments is envisaged, operators and regulators can still use this material as guidance to develop the associated risk assessments for these types of operations.  Operators or regulators may need to develop different mitigation strategies depending upon the type of aircraft and operation being considered.


Packages of vaccines may contain multiple elements such as:

  • the vaccine component itself;

  • data loggers and/or cargo tracking devices powered by lithium batteries, and that emit electromagnetic radiation that have the potential to interfere with aircraft systems; and

  • dry ice, which is used as a refrigerant to preserve the vaccines during transport.

For each identified element in the package, the risk management process should address associated hazards, as doing so is important for maintaining safe operations. The information in the table below is not an exhaustive or limiting list. Each operator should tailor their risk assessment as necessary for the individual case and context.


Specific guidance to conduct risk assessments with respect to operations that involve the transport of items in the cargo compartments of an aeroplane can be found in Doc. 10102. Further guidance on safety risk management can be found in Chapter 2.5 of the Safety Management Manual (4th edition). 


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