The TSA should use their dog teams to keep airport security lines moving if there is a labor shortage during the federal COVID-19 vaccination mandate, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday.
President Biden’s vaccination ordinance for federal employees goes into effect three days before Thanksgiving – the busiest time of year for air travel.
“If the TSA falls behind with stings, send the dogs,” Schumer said during a press conference in Manhattan, citing the TSA’s recent revelations that 40 percent of its employees remain unvaccinated.
“There’s no reason on God’s green earth why no one – let alone a TSA agent – shouldn’t have the vaccine,” said the senior New York senator.
“If the agency now plans with contingencies, including the deployment of dog teams, travel headaches can be avoided wherever vaccination rates affect staff and safety,” Schumer emphasized.
“The dog teams are really effective,” he said. “They can help ensure national security and enable TSA agents to search people for explosives more effectively and efficiently. It really works and keeps moving the lines. “
Schumer said the TSA should “particularly focus on New York” in relation to his proposal, both because of the large number of people passing through its airports and the relatively low vaccination rates among New York TSA employees.
TSA employees must have at least their first Pfizer shot by Monday in order to meet Biden’s November 22nd deadline for a full shot. The second injection of the two-dose regimen can be given as early as 21 days later, but not earlier.
Workers can also receive the Johnson & Johnson one-time dose.
But it is already too late for her to receive the Moderna syringe and be fully vaccinated on time, as Moderna needs 28 days between the two doses.
The potential labor shortage could let Thanksgiving travelers down, as experts predict an increase in Americans this holiday season.
TSA spokesman Robert Langston said in a statement that the 40 percent unvaccinated rate “reflects that TSA workers do not yet have vaccination information and do not accurately reflect their vaccination rate.
“Vaccinating employees remains a priority within the TSA,” said Langston. “As we’ve seen in other sectors, we expect the vast majority of TSA workers to be vaccinated. Thousands of TSA employees upload their vaccinations every week. “