A series of new COVID-19 rules come into force on Monday, with the vaccine certificate at the centre of the changes.
But despite the measures being introduced in a matter of days, many questions still remain, especially since government helplines are constantly unreachable.
Times of Malta has gathered some of the most popular questions from readers and will attempt to answer them.
1. Where will I need to present a vaccine certificate?
A vaccine certificate will be required to enter:
- Bars and nightclubs
- Snack bars
- Pools, spas and saunas
- Gyms and fitness centres
- Bowling alleys
- Organised events
- Casinos, gaming parlours and bingo halls
2. How will I know if my certificate is valid?
From Monday, a Maltese certificate is deemed valid if the holder:
- Took a booster dose less than nine months ago OR
- Took the intial doses less than three months ago
Anyone who took a booster dose must re-print the vaccine certificate on certifikatvaccin.gov.mt. The certificate should show that all three doses (two in the case of those given a single-dose jab) have been administered and that 14 days since the booster dose was given have passed.
3. I had COVID-19 recently and cannot yet take the booster. What do I do?
The health authorities have made special concessions for those infected recently and who, because they are still waiting for four weeks to pass before they are allowed to be given the booster, will have an expired certificate from Monday.
These individuals may present their positive test in place of the certificate for a period of six weeks after infection. This includes the quarantine period. After the six weeks have passed, the individual must start showing a valid vaccine certificate.
4. What if I cannot take the booster for health reasons?
The only instance where an exemption from the vaccination certificate requirement because of health issues may be considered is where the first dose of vaccine caused immediate severe anaphylaxis that required medical treatment.
In all other medical conditions and situations, at least one of the authorised vaccines may be administered safely, the health authorities have said.
Those who suffered immediate severe anaphylaxis would need to apply for an exemption by sending an e-mail that also includes all the relevant medical documents to email@example.com.
The subject title of the e-mail should read: “EXEMPTION REQUEST: Name of person for whom the application is being requested”. The e-mail must also include a valid, verifiable medical certificate which includes clear contact details of the individual's medical specialist consultant.
A copy of the exemption letter from the Superintendent of Public Health must be presented at establishments. Letters from family doctors or specialists cannot be presented instead.
5. What about children?
Booster doses have not yet been authorised for minors and so updated certificates will not be required. However, those aged between 12 and 18 must present a certificate showing they have been administered the initial doses.
Children under 12 will be exempt from the rules and can enter without showing any certificates.
6. I have been living abroad in a country where boosters have yet to be given. Can I come to Malta?
Anyone who has been away from the island can continue to use the two-dose certificate to travel to Malta as long as they register to take the booster before travelling to the island.
7. I have not taken any COVID-19 vaccine doses. Can I present a recovery certificate or a negative result to enter establishments with a vaccine pass requirement?
No. Recovery certificates remain banned in Malta while negative tests cannot be used to enter establishments requiring a pass.