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TSA employees face COVID-19 vaccine mandate during busy Thanksgiving travel week

McCarran International Airport services Southern Nevada and was the ninth busiest by passenger volume in the United States as of 2019.
McCarran International Airport services Southern Nevada and was the ninth busiest by passenger volume in the United States as of 2019.
Posted at 5:29 AM, Nov 22, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The week of Thanksgiving is known to be incredibly busy at airports across the country because of holiday travelers. This year, there could be even more headaches because of a vaccine mandate deadline for Transportation Security Administration employees, however, authorities say that isn't the case.

Monday marks the date that all TSA employees are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The deadline comes just 3 days before Thanksgiving, when millions of Americans are preparing to travel for the holiday.

TSA and airport officials have said the mandate should not impact wait times at airports this week.

“More and more people are going to feel comfortable traveling and going to see their loved ones probably for the first time in a while, so we are expecting it to be busy,” said Joe Rachel, the spokesperson for McCarran International Airport. ‘Thanksgiving is a much more confined timeframe. We see that people for Christmas really spread out how they travel, but regardless we definitely were prepared for this influx of people.”

While authorities are saying the TSA vaccine mandate shouldn't cause issues, prepare for long waits due to the increase in holiday travelers.

In October, 60% of TSA employees were reportedly vaccinated against COVID-19.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein insisted Thursday that the agency’s employee vaccination rate “is very high,” while adding that “we don’t have the full data yet."