An official with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spoke out this week to say that a whopping 40 percent of the TSA’s workforce is still unvaccinated with just over a month to go before the November 22 deadline set by Joe Biden’s administration.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske told CNN that while he is “very hopeful” that his agency’s workers will get vaccinated by the deadline, “contingency plans” are being developed should a large number of employees be deemed ineligible to work due to being unvaccinated.
“We have about 60 percent of our workforce has been vaccinated, that that number needs to go quite a bit higher over the next few weeks,” Pekoske said. “We are building contingency plans for if we do have some staffing shortages as a result of this, but I hope to avoid that.”
Pekoske has reportedly been trying to encourage more TSA employees to get vaccinated by holding Town Hall meetings. The Hill reported that earlier this month, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sent out a memo stating that federal agencies could start enforcing mandates on November 9 for employees who are still not vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Employees who refuse to be vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination are subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including removal or termination from Federal service,” said OPM Director Kiran Ahuja. “The only exception is for individuals who receive a legally required exception pursuant to established agency processes.”
“Given this timeline, agencies may initiate the enforcement process as soon as November 9, 2021, for employees who have not completed their vaccination dose(s) by November 8,” Ahuja added.
This came after President Joe Biden signed an executive order in September requiring that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The health and safety of the Federal workforce, and the health and safety of members of the public with whom they interact, are foundational to the efficiency of the civil service,” Biden wrote in his order.
“I have determined that ensuring the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service requires immediate action to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce,” he added.
It’s sad that federal employees are having their freedom to choose what goes into their bodies stripped away from them. Every American should be free to decide for themselves whether or not to get vaccinated, without having to worry about losing their jobs based on what they decide.