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Malta’s New Vaccine Rules Are On The Doorstep But Technical Problems In Certificates Are Still Happening

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In 12 days’ time, people will be obliged by law to present a valid COVID-19 vaccine certificate to enter bars, restaurants, gyms, sports events and several other venues.

However, the system through which certificates are issued is malfunctioning in some cases.

A triple-vaccinated woman told Lovin Malta that she received her booster shot just before Christmas and waited two weeks before generating her updated certificate.

While her updated certificate correctly reflects the fact that she received three out of three shots, the date of her latest dose is still showing up as 11th May 2021, the date she received her second shot.

This is a clear mistake as Malta only started its booster campaign last September.

The original vaccine certificate

The original vaccine certificate

The updated vaccine certificate

The updated vaccine certificate

Moreover, the certificate is only reflecting that she was vaccinated with the Comirnaty (Pfizer-BionTech) vaccine, and not the Spikevax (Moderna) booster.

The complainant said that while people in Malta might recognise and understand the error, she is concerned it will be immediately rejected as invalid if she tries to use it to travel.

She said she tried emailing and phoning the health authorities to no avail but eventually found help at the Msida Servizz.gov office, where a helpful worker told her she will log her case onto their system and escalate it if it is urgent.

Neither is this the first time she encountered technical problems generating her vaccine certificate; she had actually experienced similar difficulties generating her original Maltese vaccine certificate and EU digital COVID certificate.

She added that her brother is in a similar situation, with the date of the most recent shot not updating to reflect the date he took the booster shot.

“It’s infuriating,” she argued. “They’re effectively forcing people to get vaccinated so they need to make sure the system is working.”

As of 17th January, vaccine certificates will only be valid for people who completed the original vaccination cycle within the past three months or who received the booster shot within the past nine months.

From that date, bars, snack bars, restaurants, każini, gyms, pools, spas, casinos, playrooms, cinemas, theatres, sporting events and other organised events will only be accessible to people who provide a valid vaccine certificate.

A valid certificate is also necessary to travel to Malta without undergoing a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Cover photo: Health Minister Chris Fearne with the COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Chris Fearne: Twitter) 

Have you experienced similar problems updating your vaccine certificate?

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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