Vaccination rates rise at TSA and CBP ahead of holiday season

Dec 6, 2021

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After all that worry about Transportation Security Administration screeners, Customs and Border Protection officers and vaccine mandates, it looks like most are getting their shots after all.

The Department of Homeland Security on Monday posted a detailed update on its compliance with the Biden administration’s vaccination executive order, and all of its agencies boast a greater than 90% compliance.

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The TSA’s compliance rate is 93%. Of that 93%, 86% of TSA employees are fully vaccinated, while 7% requested reasonable accommodations for religious, medical or other reasons.

CBP’s compliance rate is 98%, with 87% of CBP employees fully vaccinated and 11% requesting reasonable accommodations.

Agency-wide, DHS boasts a 96% compliance rate, with 89% of employees fully vaccinated and 7% requesting reasonable accommodations.

The vaccination mandate had a Nov. 22 deadline, which was days before Thanksgiving. That date had some concerned about TSA’s ability to meet the Thanksgiving travel rush. While the rush materialized — eight of the 10 days during the TSA’s holiday period saw over 2 million people go through checkpoints — those staffing fears did not.

“The employee vaccine mandate will not impact holiday travel,” agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said on Nov. 22.

More: TSA passenger screening numbers continue to inch up as holiday travel season begins

Lines at federal inspection stations, where CBP performs its border control activities, have likewise been longer since Nov. 8, when the U.S. removed its travel restrictions. (Travel restrictions on eight African nations were later imposed due to Omicron variant fears.)

As of Dec. 6, TSA currently has 320 employees with active COVID infections. During the pandemic, 11,406 of TSA’s federal employees have tested positive, 11,086 have recovered and 33 have died. TSA employs nearly 60,000 people.

CBP has seen 12,359 federal employees with positive COVID cases during the pandemic, while 55 have died. CBP employs nearly 64,000 people.

Featured photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

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