TSA does not anticipate vaccine mandate to impact holiday travel

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)-The Federal Vaccine Mandate is less than a month away.

Some travel experts think that this may affect holiday travel.

Halloween is Sunday which means that Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the deadline for federal workers to get their COVID-19 vaccine is November 22nd, which is days before Thanksgiving.

That means that TSA Workers who have not gotten their first yet, have to get a move on it.

Last week, TSA told CNN that 60 percent of their workers were vaccinated.

News 12 spoke to Chattanooga travelers this morning. They say that TSA agents should get the vaccine to protect themselves and others.

“I think that it is important that they do what is safest for everyone. I know that it is a controversial issue. But, I think that in the end, it may help people from getting sick”, says Rodney Freeman.

Lorie Seal says, “If I can take the vaccine, then I think that anybody else can too. So, yes, I think that the workers here should have to take the vaccines.”

“I would love to see our employees here at the airport be better protected for themselves and for the people flying through”, adds Shannon Bearfield.

In order to meet the requirements, Federal Workers have to be fully vaccinated which means that they have to have their second dose or single dose J & J shot by November 8th.

TSA does not anticipate the vaccine requirement to impact holiday travel.

They sent us a statement saying,

Employee vaccination remains a priority within TSA. DHS developed an online tool for personnel to report their current vaccination status, called the Vaccination Status System (VSS). As we’ve seen across other sectors, we anticipate that the vast majority of TSA employees will get vaccinated. Thousands of TSA employees upload their vaccination every week.

My understanding is that the current percentage reflects employees TSA doesn’t yet have vaccination information on, and is not an accurate reflection of its vaccination rate. TSA personnel are in jobs where they are not readily in front of computers. Many Transportation Security Officers do not have government-issued equipment to submit required information and responses to government-issued surveys. TSA responses to surveys are often delayed in comparison to other DHS components. Eventually the response rate is consistent with other DHS components.

DHS is actively working to ensure compliance with President Biden’s Executive Order requiring that all federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 22, except in limited circumstances where an exception is required by law. This Order is necessary to protect the health and safety of the federal workforce and the members of the public with which we interact. Getting vaccinated is free, easy, safe, and effective. At TSA, we are hosting employee town halls, sending broadcast emails, posting details on the requirement in break rooms on how and where to upload documents for proof of vaccination status.

Just this morning, here at the Chattanooga Airport.

Dozens of travelers missed their flight because TSA only had one security checkpoint open.

Even though this had nothing to do with the vaccine requirement, it is important to remember to allow at least 2 hours for security, especially during the holidays.

Categories: Chattanooga, COVID-19, Featured, Local News