Kuala Lumpur, 7 July 2021 – The launch of the European Union (EU) Digital COVID Certificate and travel to the EU for Malaysians have raised many questions that deserve to be addressed in full transparency. The EU Delegation to Malaysia is eager to clarify these issues, particularly in relation to vaccines produced by manufacturers that have not yet asked for, or do not intend to ask for, an authorisation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Firstly, the establishment of the EU Digital COVID Certificate is to facilitate travel within the EU. It is a digital proof that a European citizen or resident has been vaccinated against Covid-19, or has received a negative test or has recovered from Covid-19. The Certificate is not a pre-requisite for travelling in the EU or a compulsory document, but simply a practical tool.
Secondly, the 27 Member States have agreed common guidelines for non-essential travel from outside the EU, but may introduce national restrictions based on their epidemiological situation. Entry into the EU is in principle allowed to fully vaccinated persons with one of the vaccines authorised in the EU, including those produced in facilities not covered by marketing authorisation in the EU. Member States could also allow entry for people vaccinated with vaccines that have not been yet authorised in the EU but have completed the WHO Emergency Use Listing process. There is no obstacle or hurdle. Therefore, some recent reporting concerning the AstraZeneca vaccines’ origin is inaccurate.
The EU Digital COVID Certificate is not the only tool that can be used. Member States are free to accept the documentation issued in third countries for vaccination. These should contain information that at least allows identifying the person, the type of vaccine and the date of the administration of the vaccine. Official certificates certifying recovery from COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test may also serve as a proof of low epidemiological risk, depending on the legislation in force of the Member State Malaysians wish to visit. In addition, it is up to EU Member States to decide which obligations, such as quarantine, may be imposed on incoming travellers.
Since there is no common list of requirements, Malaysians who wish to travel to the EU need to check the entry requirements for the Member State(s) they wish to visit. They need to be aware also that these are likely to change over time depending on the development of the pandemic in both the EU and Malaysia. Nevertheless, the launch of the EU Digital Covid Certificate now makes possible the formal equivalence of Covid-19 certificates between Malaysia and the EU. This possibility will be explored with the competent Malaysian authorities in days to come.