Vaccine certificate rules unfair on Maltese travellers, airport warns


Even wat meer duidelijkheid over de geldigheid van het vaccinatie certificaat!

  • Vanaf 17 Januari zijn Maltese vaccinatie certificaten nog maar 3 maanden geldig vanaf de datum van de tweede prik.
  • Alle andere vaccinatie certificaten zoals die van Nederland is gewoon 9 maanden geldig en daarmee kan je dus gewoon binnenkomen (zie artikel 2)
  • Heb je een booster gekregen op Malta dan is je vaccinatie certificaat weer 9 maanden geldig vanaf de booster.
  • Inwoners van Malta krijgen nog twee weken extra na 17 januari als ze terug komen. 
  • Vanaf 1 Feb zullen Maltese inwoners zonder geldig vaccinatie certificaat 14 dagen in quarantaine moeten. 
  • Malta mag nog steeds een geldigheid van 3 maanden eisen van alle vaccinatie certificaten (ook uit NL) regels binnen het land. Zoals de toegang tot clubs, restaurants en meer. (tit nu toe nog geen meer info over)

Artikel 1

Malta International Airport has urged health authorities to reconsider new vaccine certificate rules due to come into force next week, saying they put an "unnecessary burden" on Maltese residents.

The rules make it harder for Maltese residents to travel than other Europeans and therefore put the airport at a "significant disadvantage" to others in the EU, it said in a statement.

From January 17, Malta plans on making its vaccine certificates valid for only three months from the second dose instead of the nine-month period set out by the European Commission.

The three-month rule has already come under fire from the EU, which says it breaches its rules.

Anyone who has had a booster dose will have nine months until their vaccine certificate expires.

"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," a statement from the airport said.

"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."

MIA has previously raised concerns about a challenging winter period for the sector, saying hundreds of flights had already been cancelled amid rising COVID-19 cases across the EU.

Maltese residents returning back to Malta after January 17 will be allowed an additional two week grace period, which ends on February 1 with respect to the validity of the vaccine certificate.

Following this date, Maltese residents who do not possess a valid vaccine certificate will be asked to undergo a period of 14 days quarantine on their arrival, according to the health ministry. 

Artikel 2

Malta will be in breach of European Commission travel rules if it cuts the expiry date of COVID-19 certificates for second doses to three months, as the government plans to do later this month.

Rules covering the country's vaccine certificates are set to change on January 17. The certificate will be considered expired once three months from the second dose have passed or nine months from the booster dose.

But in comments to Times of Malta, a European Commission spokesperson said under new EU rules that came into force on December 21, "member states must accept any vaccination certificate that has been issued less than nine months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination".

This rule only applies to travel. Member states are still allowed to make up their own rules for domestic purposes such as access to bars, restaurants, and so on, meaning Malta could still opt for the three-month window for local activities.

Member states cannot provide for a shorter nor for a longer acceptance period for travel purposes, the commission spokesperson said.

"We understand that Malta will be applying new measures as of January 17 regarding the validity of the vaccination certificate and we are in touch with the Maltese authorities to seek clarifications."

The legal notice underpinning Malta's new rules has yet to be published, despite the Health Minister announcing them before Christmas. On Thursday, public health chief Charmaine Gauci said the new rules will be unveiled next week.

The European Commission rules come into force on February 1.

"For the time being, no standard acceptance period has been set at EU level for vaccination certificates issued following the administration of booster doses, given there isn't yet sufficient data regarding the period of protection after the administration of a booster," the spokesperson said.

"However, given the emerging data, it can reasonably be expected that protection from booster vaccinations may last longer than that resulting from the primary vaccination series. The Commission will closely monitor the newly emerging scientific evidence and may review its approach on this basis.

"To reduce divergence and confusion for travellers, member states are invited to align their rules for the domestic use of vaccination certificates with the 270 days standard acceptance period applicable in the context of travel," the spokesperson said.

It is not the first time Malta's radical travel rules have raised concerns in Brussels.

Back in July, when the country announced a ban on non-vaccinated travellers, European Commissioner spokesperson Christian Wigand said it could be discriminatory.

The health ministry later softened the ban - allowing unvaccinated travellers to enter Malta but only if they quarantined for 14 days.

Questions sent to the health ministry on the matter have remained unanswered