PAX West 2021's health guidelines do not include proof of vaccination

While organizer ReedPop is taking a collection of precautions to try to ensure safety, vaccination isn't among them.


ReedPop and PAX Events surprised many this week by announcing that it would be trying for a physical event with PAX West in September 2021 this year. While we are starting to get back to a more normal state of life with vaccinations and such, there is some trepidation about the first round of physical events since the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect. If that initial trepidation didn’t dissuade you from approaching PAX West though, its health guidelines might. While the event will feature a number of precautions, vaccinations - or proof thereof - are not among them.

The official PAX organizers revealed the details of health guidelines for PAX West via the PAX Twitter and website late on June 23, 2021. The Health and Safety Guidelines for PAX West include a number of precautions, including reduced capacity, social distancing, mandatory face coverings and temperature screening, and increased sanitation. However, many were alarmed to see that vaccinations are not mentioned at all. It seems that there is no requirement to be vaccinated or show proof of vaccination during PAX West.

While an in-person PAX West 2021 announcement was an interesting decision to begin with, the complete lack of address for vaccination in the Health and Safety Guidelines feels outright silly. Given that the organizers were forced to cancel events like PAX West in 2020 in the thick of the pandemic, PAX West 2021 is positioned to be one of the first large gathering events in the wake of all of that stress. In contrast, a later event this year, CEO 2021 in December doesn’t force proof of vaccination, but does highly suggest vaccination and has reduced its cap to just a few hundred competitors per game. PAX West and East have drawn in thousands of people in comparison and even with reduced capacity, it will remain to be seen what its actual limits are.

With ReedPop also having announced the return of PAX Online 2021, PAX West 2021 is looking and sounding like a losing proposition as its guidelines are currently positioned. Stay tuned as we follow this situation for further news and updates.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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