The official CovPass-Malta app that the Government released as a tool for establishments to verify the validity or authenticity of Covid-19 vaccine certificates is failing to catch invalid certificates belonging to persons who have not yet taken their booster.
Members of the Gadgets team sought to test the system on Monday 17 January 2022, the first day of the entry into force of the new rules for establishments requiring proof of vaccination for entry.
The CovPass-Malta app is publicly available and can be downloaded from the App Store and from Google Play. Once a certificate is scanned, the app checks its validity and once it recognises it and sees that it is valid, it highlights it in green.
Gadgets team members who visited a few establishments to test the system found that:
- Some establishments did not ask for a vaccine certificate.
- Some establishments asked for it and had a quick glance without verifying the details.
- A couple of establishments allowed us to sit on one of their outdoor tables when we told them we weren’t vaccinated or hadn’t taken the booster (the rule here isn’t quite clear).
- Most of the establishments we visited asked for the vaccine certificate and used the CovPass-Malta app to verify its validity.
- One of the team members who has not taken any doses of the vaccine at all was told they make an exception and allow him to stay “today only” (meaning they were risking a €500 if they got caught by the authorities).
- But one of the most problematic parts of all of this: Invalid vaccine certificates belonging to those who haven’t yet taken their booster were verified as ‘valid’ by the CovPass-Malta app! The app does indicate that I have only taken ‘Vaccination 2 of 2’ rather than ‘3 of 3’ but it comes up as valid nonetheless.
New rules put into question
This essentially puts the new rules into question, because they were specifically introduced to ensure that only those who have taken the added protection of the booster are allowed in a variety of public establishments (excluding retail outlets like clothes shops). As things stand, anyone who hasn’t taken the booster, but has taken the first two doses of the vaccine (way back in May 2021, June 2021 or even before that), is still allowed to enter the following establishments.
Only persons with valid vaccine certificate allowed, supposedly…
The new rules state that as from 17 January 2021, only persons with a valid and recognised vaccine certificate will be allowed access in these establishments:
- Clubs and ‘Każini’ (including bowling alleys and amusement areas)
- Snack bars
- Casinos, gaming parlours and bingo halls
- Sport events
- Gyms and fitness centres
- Public swimming pools, spas and saunas
- Organised events (kindly see separate standards outlining further conditionsconcerning organised events)
What constitutes a valid certificate?
An adult’s vaccine certificate issued by the Maltese Authorities is defined as valid as follows: