Ahead of what's expected to be a busy holiday travel season amid the pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is raising concerns because of the number of Transportation Security Administration agents who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Democratic leader on Sunday called on the TSA to develop a contingency plan and increase its vaccination rate before the Nov. 22 deadline when all federal employees are expected to be fully vaccinated.
"Late last week the TSA hinted at a potential real travel mess as Thanksgiving approaches. And that's because they reported that 40% of their workforce remain unvaccinated from Covid-19," Sen. Schumer said.
"We can't have people worried about the holiday season travel. We have to assure them that it's going to be smooth," he added.
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The nation’s leading infectious disease doctor said Sunday that Americans eager to spend the holidays with loved ones can do so safely, if those eligible for the vaccine have gotten the shot.
"I believe strongly that, particularly in the vaccinated people, if you’re vaccinated and your family members are vaccinated, those who are eligible — that is obviously very young children are not yet eligible — that you can enjoy the holidays. You can enjoy Halloween, trick-or-treating and certainly Thanksgiving with your family and Christmas with your family," Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC’s "This Week" on Sunday.
Fauci was largely encouraged by the downward trend of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths across the nation and suggested that vaccinated individuals could have a normal holiday season with others who have received the shot. But he said that those who have not been vaccinated should continue to avoid gatherings and should wear a mask.
While TSA agents still have more than a month to get the shot, workers across New Jersey are out of time.
Pre-K-12 teachers and staff and state employees were told in August that they must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or get COVID-19 testing once or twice a week.
New Jersey has about 130,000 public school teachers, 1.3 million public school students and an estimated 70,000 state workers.