(NewsNation Now) – Pressure for federal workers and the military to get vaccinated continues as the numbers lag and the deadline quickly approaches.
Four million federal workers must be vaccinated by Monday, November 22, according to the president’s order. The deadline comes as 80% of the country is vaccinated with at least one shot.
If employees do not comply with the mandate, they could be terminated or placed on unpaid leave. About 20% of US Border Patrol officers are unvaccinated, according to the Washington Post. It is the same for 20% of prison staff. The Transportation Security Administration has reported to CNN that 40% of airport screening officers are unvaccinated.
“I can’t imagine being an employee who is already dealing with the pandemic and having to make a personal choice that could involve their livelihood and that of their family,” said Sheria Smith, president of the American Federation of Government Employees , Local 252.
Smith is helping a few hundred of the 2,400 Education Department employees she represents navigate religious and medical exemptions amid fears of suspension and termination.
Members of the Navy SEALs are also pushing back the mandate.
Keisha Russell, associate lawyer at the First Liberty Institute, represents 35 members of the Navy SEAL who are seeking religious exemptions from the Department of Defense. So far, no exemption has been granted.
Several of the groups representing federal workers have called for an extension of the vaccines mandate, in an effort to extend the deadline beyond the holidays.