It has been just over a week since the Maltese authorities unveiled the so-called vaccine certificate, with many already rushing to get their hands on the document.

But while people were eager to download the certificate, keen on getting some much-desired freedom – the document facilitates travel and in the future might make attending mass events possible – some readers are still unsure of the process. 

Times of Malta has compiled a series of questions and answers that explain what the certificate is all about.

Can I apply for a certificate with just one dose?

No. For the certificate to be issued, a person needs to have had both vaccine doses, unless vaccinated by a single-dose jab.

The certificate will only be handed out 14 days after the second dose has been administered.

Where can I use the certificate?

For now, the certificate can only be used at the airport and when visiting the elderly in care facilities.

However, the government has said that it planned to allow the use of the certificate for other purposes.

Details on how this will work and which events will be permitted have yet to be unveiled, with the authorities insisting talks on this are still underway.

Can I download the certificate if I took one dose in Malta and another abroad?

No. Public health chief Charmaine Gauci has made it clear that this is not permitted.

Both doses of the vaccine need to have been taken in Malta for a person to be eligible for the certificate.

Can I use the certificate anywhere in the world?

This depends on other countries’ rules.

For now, until the EU rolls out its own bloc-wide certificate, the Maltese authorities can only guarantee that the local one is recognised here. While some countries might already recognise the Maltese certificate as valid, it has yet to be added to the EU’s list of official vaccine documents.

What will change from July 1, now that the European Parliament has approved the EU-wide use of vaccine certificates?

That depends on what Malta does between now and July 1. At the moment it is one of just three countries that are not yet ready to join the EU system. 

The plan is that by July 1, Malta will be ready to integrate into this system, which would mean it would recognise certificates from all EU countries. 

Does the certificate expire?

While the certificate does not have an expiry date, the law regulating it states the document will be valid for six months, reflecting ongoing uncertainty about how long COVID vaccines provide immunity for.

It remains unclear what the authorities intend to do after this period  although the government has said it has secured boosters if there is the need for additional doses to be administered.

What happens if I lose the certificate?

There are no limits to how many times the certificate is downloaded. If lost or deleted, the person can simply log into the government’s website, input the personal details and download the certificate again.

What if I do not have a computer or mobile device?

Those with no internet access can either pass on personal details to a person of their choice who can then download the certificate for them or visit one of the centres all over the island. Centres' opening hours can be viewed online.

Officials will assist with the downloading and printing of the document.

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