Providing proof of vaccination, and how it could affect people with disabilities

Recently, there has been more talk about people needing to prove that they are 100 per cent vaccinated against Covid. This week, I’ll be examining the potential impact that it could have on people with disabilities.

First off, let me again mention that several individuals and even families scattered across Canada and globally aren’t medically able to receive any of the approved vaccines. I am fully aware that you exist, and I apologize if this article makes you feel more forgotten about and left behind.

It’s truly not my intention.

As far as how potentially needing to provide proof could affect people with disabilities.

Let’s start with the good.

For many PWD such as myself, we require assistance. This could consist of needing a caregiver for a few hours a day, or like me, 24 hours a day. Regardless of how long it may be, the caregiver is in your home and often needs to close when they’re assisting you. As a person receiving care, I would feel better knowing that they’re vaccinated. Besides the fact they’re looking after themselves, it also shows that they also honestly care about your health and well-being.

I do believe that ALL healthcare workers should be vaccinated and be able to provide proof upon request.

Another way that providing proof to people with disabilities would be good is when it comes to public transportation, specifically Para Transpo.

Since the pandemic started, there have been many Para Transpo drivers that tested positive for Covid. A majority of Para Transpo users could be considered “vulnerable.” I’m not a fan of the term “vulnerable” when it comes to talking about people with disabilities, but that’s not the point.

What I’m referring to is people that have low immunity and are prone to getting sick. Each time we board a Para Transpo, the driver needs to assist the passenger. This could be either helping a passenger get to their seat, assisting with their seatbelt, or securing your wheelchair while you’re in it. Typically, a Para Transpo will need to get physically close to the passenger.

Knowing that the person doing all that and driving you would be very useful, and I would feel more comfortable taking Para Transpo regularly.

While I’m on the subject, I think it would also be beneficial to all OC Transpo riders and those who use Taxis or Uber.

When it comes to PWD, there are tons of reasons why having to show proof that you’re vaccinated would be good and valuable.

However, there is one possible downside. One that hasn’t been mentioned by the media, at least not that I’m not aware of.

If proof of vaccine does end up becoming necessary, how will a PWD be able to prove it?

Some PWD aren’t physically able to show a piece of paper or even use a phone. In those cases, you simply wouldn’t be able to, and you’d perhaps be denied access based on that.

PWD certainly don’t need more access denied, or limited.

So, how do we get around another possible barrier? That’s an excellent question.

The first answer that pops into my head would be a bracelet. I’m not referring to a medical bracelet. This could be a bracelet made by public health organizations, as opposed to a more political approach. In the process, maybe have a little fun with it.

You could maybe ask people to make their own. Just imagine the possibilities. The only catch would be that the bracelet would need to include when you were vaccinated and perhaps where. The rest would be up to you.

I should also point out that some PWD aren’t physically able to show bracelets. Compared to showing a piece of paper or phone (if they have one), this would be easier.

I do know that the vaccine doesn’t protect us 100%. You and I could still get Covid. The vaccine helps us to manage it better if we get infected.

Also, many people are concerned about privacy. To a certain degree, I do understand.

A few things to consider, though:

— If you’ve travelled to certain countries, proof of vaccination is required.

— If you work in a job requiring you to be around others, showing vaccination proof would be helpful, appreciated by your customers and others associated.

— When it comes to dating, and other related activities, wouldn’t you feel better knowing right away whether or not they’re vaccinated? Sure, you could ask, but some may consider it too personal. Also, some PWD aren’t physically able to speak.

If we do eventually need to provide proof that we’re vaccinated against Covid, I’m all for it.

However, PLEASE make sure that all people with disabilities are able to provide evidence just as quickly, safely, and respectfully as everybody else.

After all, we are people too, and we should all be included.