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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.