ATLANTA (CBS46) -- If thousands of workers don’t respond to a federal regulation soon, Thanksgiving travel could hit a major snag.

Roughly 4 in 10 TSA workers are unvaccinated, despite the agency’s looming vaccine mandate with a November 22 deadline.

“We require our workforce to report whether or not they are vaccinated,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

Workers who forgo the jab will be out of a job. As of mid-October, about 20,000 of the country’s 50,000 estimated agents are not vaccinated.

“We have about 60% of our workforce that has been vaccinated. That number needs to go quite a bit higher in the next weeks,” said Pekoske.

But because a person needs to wait two full weeks after their final dose to be considered fully vaccinated, workers must act soon.

In some cases, it may be too late.

To hit the deadline with the Pfizer vaccine, workers must get their first shot by Oct. 18.

The deadline for a first Moderna shot has already passed.

These dates are reversing who’s concerned about who’s safety at the terminal.

“I hope they’re vaccinated. I think they should be vaccinated, and I hope they get it,” said Wesley Few, as he picked up his daughter visiting from Colorado.

Jack, another traveler heading to Ohio, shared the same sentiment.

“These people who have been through the experience with COVID say it should be avoided at all costs. Vaccines are a minor price,” he said.

Ally Koch and Grant Sears shared empathy for the TSA workers, now choosing between a jab and a job.

“It would suck if anyone’s losing jobs over this,” said Koch.

TSA is working on a contingency plan if they experience staffing shortages.

The last possible date to hit the vaccine requirement deadline is opting for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by Nov. 8.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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