Malta’s COVID vaccine certificates seem here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, as Professor Charmaine Gauci on Wednesday insisted that certificates have no fixed expiry date.
This could come as a surprise to some, as an initial legal notice, published earlier in May, after the dissemination of the documents stated they would be valid for six months.
According to legal notice 203 of 2021, which introduced vaccine certificates, they should only be valid for a period of six months.
However, according to Prof Gauci, speaking on her fortnightly ‘Ask Charmaine’ show, hosted by Times of Malta, vaccine certificates have no date on them, and as such are not linked to any particular time frame.
She added added that those who have a valid certificate, but who have not yet received a booster jab will still be able to use their certificates where required locally, as well as for international travel.
It comes as vaccine certificates have become practically essential for international leisure travel, with travellers into Malta requiring a valid vaccine pass to avoid isolating upon arrival.
Additionally, the certificates are slowly being implemented as requirements for events and hospitality establishments seeking to take advantage of relaxed COVID mitigation rules.
As of this week, strict protocols will be further eased for restaurants, kazini and weddings that only accept vaccinated people.
Despite disappointment as they’ve failed to halt the spread of the virus completely, vaccines have had an impact in reducing case loads – and vitally, the severity of infections seem to be significantly reduced.
As such Governments are relying on them, and the certificates that prove, and incentivise their take-up, to facilitate ambitious economic reopening plans.
However, another factor to consider is that the European Parliament, in voting to approve the EU Digital COVID Certificate for international travel, stated that vaccine certificates should be effective for an initial period of 12 months.
It is not yet clear whether this will be extended as the pandemic simmers on.
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