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Updated Covid Digital Certs reflecting booster vaccine to be issued from tonight

New rules on travelling across EU member states are coming into effect from 1 February.

The Digital Green Pass in an airport terminal.
The Digital Green Pass in an airport terminal.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

UPDATED EU COVID passes are to be issued to people from tonight to reflect those who have received a Covid-19 booster vaccine.

Minister of State Ossian Smyth said that almost 5 million Covid certs had been issued by his Department to date, and that the Irish Government would begin to issue the updated certs to people from tonight, after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said they would be issued from “later this week”.

The EU is to apply a nine-month time limit, or 270-day time limit, on Digital Covid Certificates issued based on the first round of vaccination – that’s two doses of Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca, or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

This means that in order for your Covid pass to be valid, your most recent Covid-19 vaccine dose needs to have been administered in the last 9 months, Smyth told Newstalk.

You can also request a Digital Covid Certificate of recovery via the online portal if you’ve recovered from Covid-19 in the last six months.

The EU created the Digital Covid Certs to allow the the return of international travel between EU countries. These passes are now being updated for travel purposes ahead of the 9-month rule coming into effect on 1 February.

Ireland and some other EU countries have also used the EU Covid passes for access to some indoor activities, such as dining in restaurants and drinking in pubs, and to allow large audiences at certain events.

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Minister of State with responsibility for public procurement and eGovernment at the Department of Public Expenditure Ossian Smyth told Newstalk Breakfast that the updated passes will begin to be sent out to people from tonight.

“The vast bulk will be going out through email,” he said, adding that people can expect to receive their updated Covid cert “soon”.

Although the European Commission has admitted that there are no studies “expressly addressing” the effectiveness of boosters on the transmission of Covid-19, it said that given the emerging data, it can be expected that protection from booster vaccinations may last longer than that resulting from the primary vaccination series.

“On the basis of new scientific evidence on this issue, the Commission may, if needed, propose an appropriate acceptance period also for vaccination certificates issued following a booster,” it said in a statement.

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