The French vocab you need to get the Covid vaccine

Dépêchez-vous (hurry up!) might be the first phrase that comes to mind when contemplating the French Covid vaccine programme, but appointments are going ahead, so here's a quick guide to some of the medical vocabulary you might need.

The French vocab you need to get the Covid vaccine
A man gets the Covid vaccine injected by a health worker. Photo by Theo Rouby / AFP

Finding an English-speaking doctor or nurse in France can be difficult, especially in rural parts of the country, and in vaccine centres you are unlikely to be given the choice of an English-speaking medic.

Those who aren’t fluent in French may find it challenging to understand everything they tell you, and some of the key questions that you will be asked.

Here’s a look at some of the phrases that could come in handy for booking the appointment and getting the vaccine. 

J’aimerais prendre un rendez-vous – I would like to make an appointment

Le vaccin Covid – the Covid vaccine

Quel vaccin allez-vous me donner ? – Which vaccine will you give me?

Aurais-je une réaction allergique ? – Could I have an allergic reaction?

Quels sont les effets secondaires ? – What are the side effects?

Quand aurai-je ma deuxième dose ?– When will I have my second dose?

UPDATED: When will you be eligible for the Covid vaccine in France?

Comment allez-vous me contacter? – How are you going to get in touch with me?

Puis-je choisir sur quel bras me faire vacciner ? – Can I choose which arm to get the vaccine in? You maybe also be asked if you are gaucher (left-handed) or droitier (right-handed).

Ça me fait mal ici – It hurts here

Je me sens étourdi – I feel dizzy

When you arrive at your appointment, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. Here are the main questions they will ask you:

Avez-vous eu la Covid-19 au cours des trois derniers mois ? – Have you had Covid-19 in the past three months?

Souffrez-vous d’allergies graves ? – Do you have serious allergies?

Avez-vous été vacciné contre la grippe ces deux dernières semaines ? – Have you been vaccinated against the flu in the past two weeks?

Avez-vous de la fièvre ou d’autres symptômes ? Do you have fever or other symptoms?

Avez-vous été en contact avec un cluster très récemment ? Have you been in contact with a cluster very recently?

Êtes-vous enceinte ? Are you pregnant?

READ ALSO: The French phrases we learned during the Covid health crisis

Aïe, ça fait mal ! – Ouch, that hurt! Hopefully you won’t need this one, we’re told that it’s just a little prick and most people barely feel it. 

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Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).