TSA says 40% of employees remain unvaccinated as deadline approaches

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The deadline for a federal COVID-19 vaccination requirement is just a few weeks away. A Transportation Security Administration official said about 40% of employees still need to get vaccinated.

President Joe Biden said vaccine requirements are helping to curb the spread of COVID-19, but more shots need to go into arms.

“We have to do more to vaccinate the 66 million unvaccinated Americans. It’s essential,” he said Thursday.

TSA workers are required to be fully vaccinated against the virus by November 22, the Monday before Thanksgiving.

In an interview with CNN, TSA administrator David Pekoske said 4-in-10 employees remain unvaccinated.

He told CNN he’s hopeful people will meet the deadline, but if not, the agency is creating contingency plans in the case of some staffing shortages.

Flying from LAX to Salt Lake City, Presley Regier and Jake Lenthall said if fewer people are working, it could cause some delays for holiday travelers.

“Long lines would definitely be a bummer, but I guess you do what you gotta do,” Lenthall said.

“I think the priorities need to be set but at the same time, it might minimize the amount of family that gets to come out and visit for Christmas or different holidays,” Regier said.

Even with the vaccination deadline six weeks away, it’s now too late for employees to get Moderna’s vaccine.

However, employees would need to get Pfizer’s shot by October 18 or Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine by October 29 to be considered fully vaccinated by the deadline.

ABC4 reached out to a TSA spokesperson who said the agency is not commenting on the deadline and doesn’t have access to how many Salt Lake City International Airport TSA employees are fully vaccinated or not.

The TSA reports 109 TSA employees in Salt Lake City have been infected with COVID-19.

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