Malta has published a legal notice regulating vaccine certificates for travel to countries outside the European economic zone, paving the way for the country to introduce the COVID-19 document. 

The EU is currently discussing plans to introduce a so-called digital green certificates that will be recognised across all member states, and has set itself a June target for doing so. MEPs gave the plans the green light in a vote held this past week. 

The legal notice was published on Friday and indicates that Malta's vaccination certificates will only be used for travel purposes to such countries.

The certificate will only show whether a person has been inoculated against COVID-19, unlike the certificate that the EU is planning on creating, which will also include details about any previous infection as well as test results. 

That differs from choices made by some other countries, such as Israel and Denmark, that are using their certificates to grant access to public places such as museums, theatres or sports events.  

The certificates are expected to be made available by the end of May.  

The Maltese certificate will be issued by the Superintendence of Public Health after 14 days from a person's second vaccine dose and will be available in either print or digital format.

It will only be valid for a period of six months, reflecting ongoing uncertainty about how long COVID-19 vaccines provide immunity for.

Possessing a vaccination certificate is expected to facilitate travel to so-called 'red zone' countries. Travel to these places is currently banned except in cases where permission is granted by the Superintendence of Public Health.

Vaccination is not obligatory, and the EU and Council of Europe have both said that travellers should be given another way of moving across borders, such as for instance providing a negative COVID-19 test result or undergoing quarantine.  

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has said that the country intends to be among the first in Europe to use vaccine certificates, as it is banking on them to help facilitate tourism to the country as of June. 

Malta is currently in bilateral talks with the UK to allow mutual recognition of fully vaccinated travellers and from the two countries and health authorities this week moved the UK onto its amber list, down from its previous 'red' classification. 

As of Friday, 335,848 doses of the COVID-19 have been given out, of which 107,038 are second doses. 

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