Travel may become more difficult for those with expiring vaccination certificates

Cabinet told more than 200,000 could be affected by the end of March

Tens of thousands of people could face additional difficulties in travelling overseas from the start of next month, as their digital Covid cert will not be accepted anymore.

Cabinet was told today that almost 45,000 people have a primary vaccination certificate that will expire by February 1st, but who have not yet received a booster or a had a recent Covid infection confirmed by a PCR test.

From that date, people must have had a booster or confirmed Covid infection within the last nine months in order to be eligible for a digital Covid cert. While travel within the EU is, strictly speaking, allowed without a cert, it can be arduous and complex.

Among the 45,000 people will be a certain number who died since receiving their second shot, but many more may have been caught out by a quirk of testing rules introduced as the State’s PCR capacity was exhausted out over Christmas.

Under those rules, people aged between four and 39 years were asked to take regular antigen tests before booking a PCR test, and in many instances would not have received a confirmed PCR test result.

Most will now have recovered, and therefore will not be able to get a confirmatory PCR test. However, they are also advised not to get a booster shot until they are three months past their Covid infection, so they will not be able to get a digital Covid cert this way either.

One option available would be to get a private PCR or antigen test and obtain their digital Covid cert that way.

Some others may have chosen not to receive a booster shot.

Cabinet was also told that many more people could face this situation by the end of March - although these people may have a third shot between then and now.

In a worst case scenario, cabinet was told that 207,572 people could face their vaccination cert expiring in these circumstances by the end of March.

Cabinet was told today that almost 45,000 people have a primary vaccination certificate that will expire by February 1st,