Nearly 40% of TSA workers are unvaccinated ahead of November deadline

Oct 17, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This is a continually updated story

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents help travelers in Miami in May (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Roughly 40% of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers are unvaccinated ahead of the Nov. 22 deadline for federal government workers to be fully vaccinated.

“We have about 60% of our workforce has been vaccinated, that number needs to go quite a bit higher over the next few weeks,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske in an interview with CNN on Oct. 13.

What does this mean for TSA workers who don’t get vaccinated without necessary exemption?

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

“Employees who choose to remain unvaccinated for COVID-19 and have not received or have a pending request for a legally required exemption will be subject to discipline, up to and including removal from federal service,” a TSA spokesperson told The Points Guy in an email.

The spokesperson did not elaborate on other types of “discipline” employees would be subject to, other than removal from service.

Related: 85% of flight attendants say they’ve dealt with unruly passengers this year

“Even after receiving the vaccine, TSA has stressed that it remains essential for employees to follow established protocols in maintaining personal safety, such as mask-wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and limiting exposure to large crowds,” said the TSA spokesperson.

“We continue to urge employees in regularly scheduled town hall meetings, shift briefs, and broadcast messages to the workforce to obtain their vaccination,” the TSA spokesperson continued.

Related: The US reopens to international travelers on November 8 — here’s what you need to know

If the TSA is short-staffed or isn’t able to staff up quickly enough, an agent shortage could lead to longer checkpoint lines for this forthcoming busy holiday season just as they saw an uptick in travelers this past summer.

In response to TSA vaccination numbers, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. warned about a potential “travel mess as Thanksgiving approaches” if TSA fails to increase vaccination among employees before the Nov. 22 deadline, per reporting by NBC 4 New York.

“We can’t have people worried about the holiday season travel,” Schumer told the outlet. “We have to assure them that it’s going to be smooth.”

On Oct. 15, the United States announced that it will officially reopen its borders to fully vaccinated travelers on Nov. 8. Expectations remain optimistic for more vaccinated TSA workers before the looming late November deadline.

“We anticipate the vast majority of TSA employees will get vaccinated. Thousands of TSA agents upload their vaccination status every week,” the TSA spokesperson said.

Additional reporting by Caroline Tanner

Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.