Transportation Security Administration: 4 in 10 Workers Remain Unvaccinated

By Tammy Hung
Tammy Hung
Tammy Hung
October 18, 2021 Updated: October 18, 2021

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said on Oct. 13 that four in ten workers of its workforce remain unvaccinated as the Nov. 22 deadline looms.

“About 60 percent of our workforce has been vaccinated,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CNN in an interview.

“That number needs to go quite a bit higher over the next few weeks,” added Pekoske. “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 has reportedly been holding town hall meetings with the goal of increasing vaccination rates within the workforce.

As of May 2021, the TSA employed more than 50,000 transportation security officers.

In September, the Biden administration signed an executive order mandating that Federal Executive Branch employees be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22.

To meet the deadline, federal employees must receive the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by Oct. 18, allowing for the 21-day gap between the two doses.

The CDC considers individuals “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving their second shot in a two-shot series such as Pfizer/BioNTech or after a single shot of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Because Moderna requires a four-week interval between the two doses, federal employees should have received the first shot by Oct. 11.

Those who opt for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can receive their single-dose as late as Nov. 8 and still meet the deadline.

While White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Oct. 17 that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should have been two doses, the CDC website has yet to recommend boosters for the vaccine.

Under Biden’s executive order, workers and contractors can only be exempt from being vaccinated if they apply for a religious or medical exemption.

“If a federal worker fails to comply, they will go through the standard [human resources] process, which includes counseling, and face disciplinary action, face progressive disciplinary action,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington in September.

The Biden administration is seeking to extend the vaccine mandate to private companies with 100 or more employees. Just last week the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers was submitted for review.

Regarding the mandate for private sectors, Republican Attorney General Austin Knudsen  said in an Oct. 14 letter to Montana residents that Biden’s announcement has resulted in a “great deal of confusion.”

“Further, my office is preparing to immediately challenge and enjoin this federal overreach on a variety of grounds when the Biden administration issues its announced rule,” he said.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, already filed a lawsuit against Biden’s vaccine requirement, arguing that it would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

Tammy Hung