Why vaccine passports present another challenge to people living without a home | CBC News

For people experiencing homelessness, a coffee shop or fast food restaurant is a go-to spot to warm up in the winter. But the vaccine passport system is changing that. 

Jody Brushette is currently unvaccinated and living at street level in London, Ont. She says she’s seen the signs telling customers to show proof of vaccination but says she’d be hard pressed to do so, even if she had the shot. 

The last time she had a phone was more than a year ago so she couldn’t use a digital QR code or show an image of the proof of vaccine.

“I haven’t really gone to restaurants to sit down and eat, but I’ve noticed a few of the postings on the doors to have a vaccination card,” Brushette said.  

The provincial guidelines require anybody dining-in to present proof of vaccination, along with photo ID. That isn’t always possible to provide for people experiencing homelessness, explains one London advocate.

“And then there’s barriers of not understanding where to go to get the vaccine, plus having the personal ID required to get the vaccine.” said 519 Pursuit co-found Allison DeBlaire.

The vaccine passport can be a barrier for some people experiencing homelessness when it comes to finding a spot to stay warm. (James Chaarani/CBC)

In order to stay warm, Bruchette says she’s taken to riding the bus because she’s not required to prove her vaccination status.

“I’ll take three dollars and I’ll get on the bus and I’ll ride the transit around,” she explains. 

“I try not to make a big deal and I try not to fall asleep on the bus,” she added. “I’m just usually looking to be warm, right? I’ve only ever come across a couple of bus drivers that had mentioned something.” 

Not having a phone has also limited Bruchette’s ability to find out what’s going on with the pandemic, which would include keeping up with the changing rules and regulations.

DeBlaire points out that this too is an issue, not just for Bruchette but for many who are experiencing homelessness. 

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