The Transportation Security Administration is dealing with a huge problem, one that could make Thanksgiving travel a nightmare.
While officials are hopeful that the problem will be dealt with in time for the busy holiday travel season, there’s no guarantee of that, and airports could face a huge shortage in the number of available screeners.
Currently, just 60 percent of TSA employees — including screeners — are fully vaccinated.
The deadline to be fully inoculated is November 22. But the deadline to begin receiving the Moderna shot has already passed. That’s because two shots are needed to be fully vaccinated. The shots must be about a month apart, and full immunity doesn’t kick in for another two weeks after that.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske says the last possible date to receive the Pfizer vaccine is October 18.
In order to meet that deadline, the last possible date for receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine is October 18, while the latest possible date for the first dose of Moderna was October 11. The Pfizer vaccine requires a three-week waiting period in between first and second doses. Moderna requires a four-week wait. The last possible date to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is November 8, two weeks before the November 22 deadline.
Pekoske said he is “very hopeful” that the agency’s employees can meet the deadline and that there will not be worker shortages.
Being “very hopeful” is not much of a plan when talking about a nationwide travel meltdown at the busiest time of the year. “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 said.
There’s that word “hope” again. It doesn’t elicit much confidence. Sounds too much like “a wing and a prayer.”
It certainly not going to help people relax when waiting to be cleared to board. The TSA reports a record number of “unruly” passengers this past year.
“We’re seeing that in screen check points, we see it in flights, and you’ve seen passenger recordings of instances that have happened in flights. Those are a great concern both to the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] and to TSA and we have worked very closely together, used each of our authorities and each of the tools that we have to try to bring those disturbances ideally down to zero,” Pekoske said.
“As a passenger, I don’t want anybody acting out on a flight that I’m on, and I can understand why every other passenger feels the same way,” he added.
What kind of “disturbances” do you suppose there will be if people are forced to wait in line for a couple of hours to be cleared to board a plane?
I’ll bet Biden and his people never even considered the chaos that would ensue if they imposed a vaccine mandate on government workers.