While we wait to see what remains of the US army after hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated troops are told to pack up for not complying with Biden's executive order (and whether that's the moment China will decided to attack), we wonder if soon nobody will be able to fly as a few weeks from now the Transportation Security Administration may simply cease to exist.
According to CNN, the TSA says 4-in-10 members of its workforce, including screeners, remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 just weeks ahead of a looming deadline. The deadline for civilian federal government workers to be fully vaccinated is November 22 - the Monday before Thanksgiving, which just happens to be the busiest travel time of the year.
"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," TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CNN.
The November 22 deadline for being fully vaccinated is still six weeks away, but the deadlines for receiving the vaccines are rapidly approaching or, in the case of the Moderna vaccine, have already passed, since an individual has to receive the full schedule of doses and wait two weeks before being considered fully vaccinated.
In order to meet that deadline, the last possible date for receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is October 18, while the latest possible date for the first dose of Moderna was October 11. According to CNN, the Pfizer vaccine requires a three-week waiting period in between first and second doses. Moderna requires a four-week wait. The last possible date to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is November 8, two weeks before the November 22 deadline.
Pekoske said he is "very hopeful" that the agency's employees can meet the deadline and that there will not be worker shortages, however in light of mandatory requirements that clearly will not happen.
"We are building contingency plans, for if we do have some staffing shortages as a result of this, but I hope to avoid that," he said.
It wasn't clear what, if any, these contingency plans are.