Covid: How decision to scrap vaccine passports for large events affects those with disabilities

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Before the Government reversed its decision, Covid passports were set to be introduced at venues such as nightclubs at the end of this month

But how has this decision affected those living with disabilities and long-term health conditions?

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‘An added security measure’

Mark Heffernan, 42, from London, suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. He said the impact for someone like him with serious lung complaints “will probably be an increased reticence about any large, crowded spaces”.

Mr Heffernan has both played and attended gigs for most of his life, as well as attending club nights, concerts, parties and other full events, something which he now feels he “took for granted”.

Moving forward after the Covid pandemic, he said attending large venues and events would now be something he “would have had to consider a little more,” but if vaccine passports had been in place this would be “an added security measure” and “a degree of a buffer”.

“This announcement will be another reason for those with long standing conditions to view these events as not for them,” he added.

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However, James Welling, 43, from Crawley, West Sussex, who has Cerebral Palsy, believes that “vaccine passports should be an optional scheme” so that those with disabilities “have a choice” regarding whether to attend a venue.

Millions of people will live ‘restricted and isolated life’

But Melody Powell, 23, from South West London, said the Government’s decision to no longer require people to show proof of vaccination makes her feel “like the lives of disabled people are not valued”.

Ms Powell has Charcot-Marie-Tooth with severe scoliosis, which causes COPD and means her lungs are extremely vulnerable.

She also suffers from OCD which makes “going out in a pandemic extremely difficult as a vulnerable person to Covid”.

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Ms Powell said the Government “don’t seem to care that millions of people will have to live a restricted and isolated life for the foreseeable”, now that the decision on Covid passports has changed.

Before the Government reversed its decision, Covid passports were set to be introduced at venues such as nightclubs at the end of this month, which would have meant only those fully vaccinated against Covid would have been permitted to enter.

Ms Powell added: “Something as simple as showing you have been vaccinated may seem trivial to people who have never experienced serious illness, but it genuinely opens up the world to so many people who have disabilities.”

She said she is only just starting to go outside again after 16 months of isolation as she felt “some hope that society was looking out for us all and keeping us all equally safe”.

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But, after hearing about the scrapping of vaccine passports, she is now “incredibly concerned that people will assume they no longer have to take any precautions as the government isn’t too concerned themselves”.

“I hope one day I’ll be able to go to a club or pub and live the life of an average 23 year old, but until I can be sure I’m not entering into my own death trap my social life will continue to be rather non existent,” Ms Powell added.

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