Disabled Artists ‘Deeply Troubled’ About Vaccine Passports

Disability arts organisations have aired concerns that a possible vaccine passport scheme that is being considered by the government could undermine the rights of disabled artists, workers, and audiences.

While 62 per cent of Brits support such a scheme, which would allow them access to pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues, members of the #WeShallNotBeRemoved campaign have warned that a vaccine passport may infringe disabled people’s rights, and threaten their viability within the creative sector.

The #WeShallNotBeRemoved campaign believes that the scheme could create a ‘troubling and ableist precedent which potentially undermines existing protections in equality and employment law’.

Among the concerns is that if venues only allow admission for those who can prove they have been vaccinated, it may exclude disabled people who are unable to receive a vaccine due to health conditions.

Another fear is that the scheme could ‘coerce or penalise’ disabled people who are homeless, undocumented migrants or cannot share health or personal information.

The campaign has urged the government to ensure that any scheme that is introduced obeys seven key inclusive principles, including complying with the Equality Act and making reasonable adjustments to ensure disabled people do not face discrimination.

The campaign was responding to a short call for evidence from the Cabinet Office, which is reviewing whether so-called “COVID-status certification” could “play a role in reopening our economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety”.

There were reports this week that the government is considering applying the scheme to workplaces as well as cultural, leisure and arts venues.

#WeShallNotBeRemoved members include hundreds of the country’s leading disabled creative practitioners, disability arts organisations and allies, including Graeae, Shape Arts, Disability Arts Online, Nabil Shaban, Jamie Beddard and Kim Tserkezie.

Cultural consultant and broadcaster Andrew Miller, member and co-founder of the campaign, who recently ended his stint as the government’s disability champion for the arts and culture sector, said: “Disabled people are deeply troubled by the integration of health data into cultural participation.

“We feel alarmed by the introduction of additional barriers and any shift in policy away from the social towards the medical model of disability. I cannot see how any COVID-status certification system can avoid being discriminatory and ableist.”

The #WeShallNotBeRemoved campaign was set up last spring as a reaction to the impact of the pandemic on disability arts.

The government has said that the review of the vaccine passport scheme will be finished before the implementation of step four of the four-stage lockdown easing plan, which will happen no earlier than 21 June, but it is set to produce some initial findings of work on a potential scheme on 5 or 12 April.

The disability arts commissioning programme Unlimited has announced funding of more than £700,000 for 34 disabled artists.

Unlimited is funded by Arts Council England, Arts Council of Wales, Creative Scotland and the British Council, and delivered by the disabled-led arts organisation Shape Arts and the arts-producing organisation Artsadmin.


If you’re working from home and need to update your mobility bathroom for extra accessibility, then visit our site today, or if you are interested in finding out more information call us on 01491 411041 or visit our website.

Absolute Mobility

Need some help choosing your new easy access bathroom?
Call 0800 2922 110 and speak to a friendly adviser

Request A Brochure

Complete your address details and we’ll post a brochure to you

Try Before You Buy

Visit our Henley showroom or let us bring our products to you

Free Home Assessment

Request a home assessment and product suitability survey

General Enquiry

For any other enquiry, please use our contact form