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Fact Check-Exemption cards for the NHS COVID Pass are fake

Fake cards showing an exemption from the NHS COVID Pass, a record used to show vaccination status or COVID-19 test results in England and Wales, are circulating widely on social media. However, the cards are illegitimate and an exemption from the NHS COVID Pass is not necessary, given that those who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons can obtain certification with the NHS COVID Pass app, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) told Reuters.

Images of the fake card have been shared and liked hundreds of times, including here , here and here.

The text on the graphic, which features an NHS logo, reads: “I am exempt from using the NHS Covid Pass. Thank you for respecting my hidden disability. Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for any individual or business to ask for evidence of an exemption.”

The UK government does not issue exemptions from using the NHS COVID Pass, the DHSC told Reuters in an email.

According to the DHSC, individuals who are medically exempt from COVID-19 vaccines can still use the NHS COVID Pass.

These individuals can provide evidence of a small number of exemptions, which a health professional must confirm. If eligible, the pass, which will not show the holder has a medical exemption, can be used to demonstrate COVID-19 status in the same way as those who are vaccinated (here).

“If you get this proof of medical exemption you’ll be able to use the NHS COVID Pass wherever you need to prove your COVID-19 status within England,” the guidance reads.

The fake cards also cite the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme, a private company based in the UK, and features images of sunflowers, which the organisation says is a “globally-recognised symbol for non-visible disabilities” (hiddendisabilitiesstore.com/).

“These posts have in no way been endorsed by the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Scheme,” a spokesperson for the company told Reuters in response to questions about the exemption cards.

They added: “The Sunflower lanyard is here to support people with an invisible disability by indicating to those around them that they may require help, understanding, or a little more time, it is not here to demonstrate that you are exempt from an NHS COVID Pass.

“We hold numerous trademarks surrounding the Sunflower scheme and this is a blatant infringement of our logo.”

Hidden Disabilities issues cards and lanyards for individuals who may be exempt from wearing face coverings (here). However, it does not ask buyers for proof of a disability, the spokesperson said.

VERDICT

False. Cards showing exemption from the NHS COVID Pass are not legitimate. Those with medical conditions who are exempt from COVID-19 vaccines can obtain proof of exemption through the NHS COVID Pass app.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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