People who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Malta are having trouble using their digital COVID certificate in other EU countries.

Government applications in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg, used to verify EU digital COVID certificates through scanning the QR code, are reading the certificates as invalid.

The same applications, however, are accepting certificates issued in Malta for people who have taken Pfizer, Astra Zeneca or Moderna vaccines.

Steve Abela, who was given the single dose jab, was on holiday in France earlier this month when he was denied entry into a bar to watch a football game after his certificate was deemed invalid when scanned.

“I was barred entrance from two other venues for the same reason and my first thought was that maybe the certificate was new or there was some sort of bug in their QR code reader,” he said.

However, after later scanning his certificate with government applications of three other countries, he realised his document was the problem.

I was barred entrance from two other venues for the same reason

France requires a COVID passport to access a wide range of venues.

“Thankfully, at the airports they weren’t checking the QR codes of the certificates. They were checking the documents manually, otherwise that would have been a problem,” he said.

Abela has written to the health authorities about the problem but has so far received no reply. He explained he was worried about an upcoming trip to Spain he had planned and, until the issue was solved, he was going to avoid booking trips altogether.

A Latvian national, inoculated in Malta with the single-dose jab, also had trouble using his certificate when he travelled home on Monday. He was denied entry into a restaurant and another couple of places in Latvia after the document was deemed invalid.

Another 12 people who spoke to Times of Malta have also been alerted to the problem after scanning their certificates on EU government applications –COVID Certificate Check (Switzerland), TousAntiCovid Verif (France), Covid Scan (Belgium), CovidCheck.Lu (Luxembourg) – only to find their certificate wasn’t recognised.

Jab code inexistent, health authorities investigating

According to one government application, COVIDcheck.LU (Luxembourg), the issue with the Maltese issued certificates is that the EU vaccine medicinal product code for Johnson and Johnson vaccines, EU/1/21/ 1525, is not recognised.

A search through the EU Public Health Union Register of medicinal products reveals that the code given to J&J vaccines in Malta does not exist.

The only code for ‘COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen’ in the register is EU/1/20/1525.  More than 9,000 people have been given the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Malta, according to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry said the issue was being investigated by a technical team.

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