Ahead of Thanksgiving week, one of the busiest travel periods of the year, as many as 40% of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers aren't vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Forbes.
Beginning on Monday, all federal employees must be vaccinated. November 8 was the last date that airport security screeners could get a J&J dose and be considered "fully vaccinated" to meet Monday's deadline.
Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, representing 45,000 employees, told a panel on Capitol Hill yesterday that the union urged President Biden to push back the vaccination deadline for federal workers to January 4. He was unsure of how many TSA workers were fully vaccinated at the moment and noted several TSA officials requested religious and medical exemptions for the vaccine.
A perfect storm could be developing. There appears to be a great deal of TSA workers who have yet to be vaccinated and may complicate their work status next week as AAA is projecting that 4.2 million Americans will fly over Thanksgiving weekend, about double the number from last year but still down 11% from pre-pandemic times.
Meanwhile, TSA Administrator David Pekoske told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that the "implementation of the mandate will have no effect staffing whatsoever on Thanksgiving."
While there are so many unknowns next week as millions of Americans take to the skies to see family and friends for "Turkey Day" and football and day drinking, there is a rising probability that airport disruptions could be seen next week.