Not 100% sure but I believe that if the airbag light is on the entire airbag system will not work. The manual says that if the light comes on "the system has detected a fault and will not operate". I assume this means the entire system will not work and not just the 1 airbag.
The only way to disable the light is through VCDS. This will definitely disable all airbags. It's possible to trick the airbag system so that it thinks it's working and so the other airbags will work but I don't know the details and wouldn't give any details even if I knew how because it's dangerous and it's possible it could result in accidental deployment of the airbag system.
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