TSA vaccine mandate goes into effect three days before Thanksgiving

BOSTON — As holiday travel is in full swing, a vaccine mandate for TSA workers goes into effect Monday. TSA officials believe the mandate won’t affect staffing for Thanksgiving travel. Officials say the mandate will make it safer for travelers. But they do say to prepare for long lines because more people are traveling.

The holiday travel rush began at Logan Airport last week. The number of airline passengers traveling for Thanksgiving is expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels. But one of the busiest travel weeks of the year comes as the federal vaccine mandate for TSA workers begins Monday.

In October, 60% of TSA employees were reportedly vaccinated. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg spoke Sunday about the mandate and says he doesn’t believe it will disrupt holiday travel over the long Thanksgiving week.

“Putting all of that behind us means getting everybody vaccinated,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “That’s what these requirements are about, and from a federal perspective, you know, the deadline tomorrow, that’s not a cliff. People aren’t getting immediately pulled off their posts. It’s part of a process to make sure that everyone in the federal workforce is safe.”

Officials are still concerned about the number of incidents involving unruly passengers. The FAA says it’s referred 37 cases to the FBI since the uptick in assaults on flight attendants began in January.

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