Health authorities say Malta is accepting UK digital COVID vaccine certificates from 1 July

After 24 hours of confusion, the Maltese Health Authorities finally clarify that Malta is accepting both the UK digital COVID vaccine certificates and the paper version from 1 July

Updated on 1 July at 1:20pm with Health Authorities statement 

From 1 July, Malta is accepting the digital UK vaccine certificate as well as the paper version, the health authorities said in a statement on Thursday afternoon. 

"As of today, 1 July 2021, Malta will be accepting the digital app version of the UK NHS vaccine certificate, as well as the paper version of the certificate. This update came following the creation of a verifier app, created by the Maltese Authorities, which allows airlines and health officials to verify the authenticity of the UK digital certificate presented by tourists before entering Malta," the health authorities said.  

However, previously, amid the confusion, the British High Commission had advised that Malta was only accepting the printed vaccine certificates from the UK, despite Health Minister Chris Fearne stating that Malta will accept the digital version at a press conference on Wednesday. 

"As you will notice on our official Facebook page, we have once again published a warning that ONLY the paper version of the certificate sent by NHS by post is accepted by local health authorities. This remains in effect for the foreseeable future," the British High Commission said.

Industry sources told MaltaToday that the scanning equipment to verify vaccination certificates arrived late yesterday night. 

The Maltese Health Ministry is allowing only fully vaccinated persons to travel to Malta from the UK. They will need to present a UK two-dose certificate before boarding their flight to Malta. 

Children aged between five and 12 can travel if they are accompanied by their vaccinated parents or legal guardian, provided they provide a negative nasopharyngeal PCR test carried out within 72 hours from arrival in Malta.

Children under five do not need a test. A Maltese resident or citizen not in possession of an accepted vaccine certificate can proceed to Malta only after seeking pre-authorisation from [email protected], who would request a pre-departure PCR, 14 days quarantine and PCRs during the period of quarantine.

The measures have been introduced for UK travellers, particularly those not fully vaccinated, amid fears they could spread the Delta variant of coronavirus, which was first identified in India.

'The situation could have been handled better' - MHRA

"I think the situation could have been handled better. The MHRA respects the decision to only let fully vaccinated UK tourists into Malta. But in light of the fact that the health authorities are only accepting hard copy vaccine certificates and that it can take a minimum of five days for them to arrive in the post. The public should have been informed prior, giving at least 15 days notice in advance," MHRA President Tony Zahra told MaltaToday.