Last week, in an interview with CNN , TSA Administrator David Pekoske said that 40% of its workforce remains unvaccinated ahead of the November 22 deadline.
"We have about 60% of our workforce has been vaccinated, that that number needs to go quite a bit higher over the next few weeks," Pekoske said .
As a refresher, said deadline was imposed for all civilian federal government workers, and the last possible day to have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine — which requires a three-week waiting period between shots — and be considered fully inoculated by November 22 was … October 18. Three days ago. For Moderna, which requires a four-week waiting period, it was October 11. So employees that remain unvaccinated will be left with no choice but to sit for the one jab Johnson & Johnson shot by no later than November 8 if they wish to retain their current jobs.
But according to a new report from Forbes , despite the fact that the holidays are just around the corner, officials aren't panicking … yet.
"As we've seen across other sectors, we anticipate that the vast majority of TSA employees will get vaccinated," said a TSA spokesperson. "Thousands of TSA employees upload their vaccination every week using an online tool developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for personnel to report their current vaccination status. My understanding is that the current percentage reflects employees that TSA doesn't yet have vaccination information on, and is not an accurate reflection of its vaccination rate."
Needless to say, if 4 out of 10 TSA employees still haven't gotten the jab by November 8, there could be some really nightmarish ramifications come the holidays. We're talking longer-than-usual security checkpoint lines staffed by a sector that could be facing a sudden and drastic labor shortage. So if you don't yet have TSA Pre-Check, now is a good time to consider getting it. Particularly coming off the news that, per a new report from Kayak, international travel-related searches to the United States have spiked following the announcement that fully vaccinated foreign nationals could once again be allowed to visit starting on ( you guessed it! ) November 8.
"We are building contingency plans, for if we do have some staffing shortages as a result of this, but I hope to avoid that," Pekoske said .
Plans to travel any time in the next two months? You should really be hoping to avoid that, too.
For more travel news, tips and inspo, sign up for InsideHook ‘s weekly travel newsletter, The Journey.
The post What Happens If the TSA Fires 40% of Its Workforce Ahead of the Holidays? appeared first on InsideHook .
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