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Malta’s Airport Takes A Stand: New Vaccine Travel Rules Should Be Scrapped

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Malta’s airport has urged the authorities to scrap its upcoming new travel rules for Maltese vaccine certificate holders, warning it will create an “unnecessary hurdle”.

“Malta International Airport is being placed at a significant disadvantage when compared to other European airports, which to date are all accepting the vaccination certificate validity period as stipulated by the European Commission,” the airport said in a statement.

“Given that Malta is the only Member State which has shortened the validity period of COVID-19 vaccination certificates, the Superintendent of Public Health has imposed an unnecessary hurdle for Maltese residents to travel, together with undermining consumer confidence for the tourism industry during this already very challenging winter period.”

“We urge the health authorities to halt the introduction of further unnecessary and haphazard travel restrictions, which go against the spirit of the European Union to facilitate free movement across all European Member States.”

Malta’s new travel rules were published on the Health Ministry’s website towards the end of 2021, with no public announcement made and no legal notice issued as of the time of writing. 

The new rules state that, as of 17th January, Maltese vaccine certificates for adults aged 18 or over will only be valid for initial vaccine cycles completed within the past three months or boosters within the past nine months.

Vaccine certificates of under-18s, who aren’t eligible for the booster, will be based fully on the initial vaccine cycle.

Maltese residents returning to Malta after 17th January without a valid vaccine certificate will be granted a two-week grace period, but from 1st February onwards, such people will be “asked” to quarantine for 14 days.

However, this new travel policy diverges from rules adopted by the European Commission last month, which established a binding acceptance period of nine months for all EU vaccine certificates. 

The EU has yet to set a standard acceptance period for vaccine certificates issued following the administration of booster doses due to a lack of sufficient data regarding the booster’s period of protection. However, they expect booster protection will last longer than nine months.

Contacted by Lovin Malta, a spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed they are in touch the Maltese authorities to seek clarifications about the new rules.

Do you think Malta should scrap its upcoming travel rules?

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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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