WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — An executive order goes into effect Monday mandating that all federal employees receive a COVID-19 vaccination or seek an exemption, possibility impacting TSA workers who are already dealing with a busy holiday travel week.
According to reports, up to 40% of TSA staff were unvaccinated as of last Friday, more than any other sector of the federal government.
Despite this, the Biden administration remains optimistic about the mandate.
“What we have seen is there is a surge in attestations and vaccination as we get closer to the deadline, which is certainly encouraging, but we want to have the final data Monday,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
It is expected the public will be coming into contact with TSA workers more than at any time since the pandemic began, with Thanksgiving being the busiest travel week of the year.
The Transportation Security Administration says it is ready to handle the surge.
Administrator David Pekoske said he didn’t think a vaccine mandate going into effect for TSA agents Monday would have any effect on staffing for Thanksgiving next week.
“In fact, implementation of the mandate will make travel safer and healthier for everyone,” he said. “So, we see quite a significant increase in the number of our officers that are vaccinated, and I’m very confident that there will be no impact for Thanksgiving.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.