Health authorities reiterated on Wednesday that cards with vaccine details given to those inoculated with the COVID-19 jab are not accepted at Malta's ports.

For entry into Malta, travellers have to present one of the recognised vaccine certificates.

The issue made headlines in Ireland when reports of Irish holidaymakers being forced to quarantine upon arrival in Malta because their documents were not recognised surfaced.

The seven tourists presented the so-called vaccine cards - the document handed at vaccination centres that show details of the jab administered. 

Although airlines are bound by Maltese law to refuse boarding to those without the proper documents, the travellers somehow still made their way on board a Ryanair flight. Times of Malta has reached out to the airline for an explanation. 

A vaccine certificate is different as it is only handed to those who have had all the doses required for immunisation. Certificates are normally only made available after 14 days after the final dose. 

Travellers who arrive in Malta without a recognised vaccine certificate must isolate for 14 days at a quarantine hotel. They have to pay at least €1,400 for their stay. 

In comments on the matter, public health chief Charmaine Gauci confirmed there were a number of passengers who flew to Malta from Ireland using these cards instead of the certificates. 

They were taken to the quarantine hotel while the issue is sorted out. According to Gauci, the tourists will be allowed out of quarantine once they get hold of their certificate. She also said the authorities were working with their Irish counterparts to resolve the issue. 

Meanwhile, Gauci also confirmed that the authorities are also working on updating their systems to start recognising more certificates, namely those from Canada and Australia. In the case of Canada, Gauci said the issue is slightly more complicated as the certificate does not have a QR code, making it more difficult to verify. 

The main priority, Gauci said, is ensuring the systems are secure and that all certificates are properly read. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the government announced Malta now also recognises vaccine certificates by Serbia, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey.

Only those certificates issued 14 days after the second dose of the Comirnaty (Pfizer), Spikevax (Moderna) or Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), or one dose of Jannsen (Johnson & Johnson) are recognised. 

The Serbian Digital Green Certificate must have a readable QR code, they said. 

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