Explainer: What’s happening with Covid certs on February 1?

Explainer: What’s happening with Covid certs on February 1?

More than 500,000 people are waiting on updated Covid certs at present. 

Despite no longer needing a Covid cert to gain entry to pubs or restaurants in Ireland, new rules surrounding certs and international travel will come into effect next week. 

Here's everything you need to know:

What’s the new rule?

Essentially, there’s an expiry date being put on vaccination certs issued after primary vaccination doses.

From February 1, vaccine certs received after you completed your primary vaccination series (your single-dose Johnson & Johnson or first two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna) won’t be accepted when travelling to the EU if it’s been more than nine months since you completed your primary vaccination series.

This doesn’t mean that you will need a booster dose to travel from February onwards, but as most people completed their primary vaccination course in July, the cert you got then will become invalid around mid-March.

What if I’ve had my booster dose?

If you’ve received your new Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) after your booster dose, these vaccine certificates are not time-limited and you can travel freely using it.

 New EU rules will come into effect from February 1, with a new nine-month maximum validity period for EU Digital COVID Certificates received after a completed primary vaccination regime.
New EU rules will come into effect from February 1, with a new nine-month maximum validity period for EU Digital COVID Certificates received after a completed primary vaccination regime.

What if I have the booster dose but haven’t received my new DCC?

The Department of Health is advising to first check your email, and to request an updated DCC online if you haven’t received one.

If you got your booster from a GP or pharmacy, the department say it may take some time between when you receive your booster and when the data is uploaded to the Covax system to issue your booster certificate.

The Department of Health has said that it's issued almost 2.1m new DCCs since the process started on January 6.

Over 2.6 million people have received a booster dose to date, meaning over half a million people are still waiting on their updated DCCs.

If it’s been more than nine months since you had your previous dose (before the booster), your original vaccine cert won’t be accepted for EU travel. 

Those travelling overseas are urged to check the European Union travel guidelines.

What about recovery certs?

You must have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months to qualify for a new DCC.

You can request the DCC 11 days after your positive test, though if you received a positive PCR test result in a testing centre you should be automatically issued one.

Your recovery certificate will remain valid for 180 days (six months) after the day you tested positive, and you can get your booster three months from the day you tested positive.

Covid certs are no longer needed to gain entry to hospitality in Ireland. 
Covid certs are no longer needed to gain entry to hospitality in Ireland. 

If you were unable to receive a PCR to confirm you had Covid-19, you will need to get a RT-PCR at a private testing centre before traveling.

“EU rules stipulate that certificates of recovery can only be issued following a positive NAAT (nucleic acid amplification test) such as RT-PCR test,” the Department of Health states.

RT-PCR, or reverse transcription PCR, can be carried out by private companies in Ireland and these certs can only be used for international travel.

Do I need a DCC for anything else except international travel?

From January 22, vaccination or recovery certificates are no longer needed to access hospitality or indoor activities.

Requirement of a vaccination or recovery certificate for international travel will be needed until at least February 28.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.