The essential Spanish vocab for getting the vaccine and testing for Covid

The essential Spanish vocab for getting the vaccine and testing for Covid
Photo: Cristina Quicler, Oscar del Pozo/AFP
If you have Covid-19 symptoms or it's your turn to get the vaccine, understanding what the doctor or nurse is telling you in Spanish can be challenging if you're not fluent. Here are some of the words and phrases you may need to know.

It’s sometimes difficult to find an English-speaking doctor in certain areas of Spain, even in big cities like Barcelona, particularly in the national healthcare system, but often in private health care too. 

Doctors in Spain usually have a good reading knowledge of English, but may struggle with speaking to their patients or are simply too embarrassed to try, even if they know the basics. 

But if you live in Spain, it’s also very much your responsibility to speak some Spanish, so the following vocab, questions and sentences should help you along if you don’t have a strong command of the language.

Covid-19 vaccination vocab:

With so many of our readers asking about the Covid-19 vaccine, when it is finally your turn, here are some useful Spanish phrases that you might need to use. 

La vacuna – the vaccine

¿Cómo puedo pedir cita para la vacuna? How can I book an appointment for the vaccine?

¿Cuando será mi turno para vacunarme? When will it be my turn to get the vaccine?

He visto que le toca a mi franja de edad vacunarse pero no me habéis contactado. ¿Qué debo hacer? I’ve seen that my age it’s my age group’s turn for the vaccine but you haven’t contacted me. What should I do?

¿Me podéis dar un certificado de vacunación, por favor? Can you give me a vaccination certificate, please?

¿Qué vacuna recibiré? – Which vaccine will I get?

¿Me dará una reacción alérgica? – Will I have an allergic reaction?

¿Cuales son los efectos secundarios? – What are the side effects?

¿Cuando me pondrán la segunda dosis? – When will I have my second dose?

¿Cómo van a ponerse en contacto conmigo? – How are you going to get in touch with me?

¿Puedo elegir en que brazo me van a poner la vacuna? Can I choose which arm to get the vaccine on?

Essential vocab and symptoms:

Here are some of the most typical vocab and phrases you might need if you suspect you have been contracted Covid-19. 

Sospecho que tengo el Covid – I suspect I have Covid

¿Tengo que acudir al centro médico? Do I have to go the health centre?

¿Tengo que aislarme hasta que me den los resultados? Do I have to self-isolate while I wait for the results?

Querría pedir una cita – I would like to make an appointment

Me duele aquí – It hurts here

Tengo fiebre – I have a fever

Estoy mareado/a – I feel dizzy

Tengo tos seca – I have a dry cough

He perdido el sentido del olfato/gusto – I’ve lost my sense of smell/taste

Me cuesta respirar – I’m having difficulty breathing

Tengo náuseas y vómitos – I am feeling nauseous and have vomited

Me duele el estómago – I’ve got stomach ache 

Tengo diarrea – I’ve got diarrhea 

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Medical tests:

In order to find out if you have Covid-19, the doctors will probably order some tests. Here are some useful words and phrases you might need to know, depending on which tests are ordered. 

La prueba PCR – PCR test

El test de antígenos – antigen test

El análisis de sangre – Blood test

La radiografía – X-ray 

¿Cuándo me darán los resultados? – When will the results come back?

Things the doctor might ask or tell you:

¿Has tenido contacto con una persona que ha dado positivo por Covid? –  Have you come into contact with a person who’s tested positive for Covid?

¿Has tenido contacto con otras personas?  – Have you come into contact with other people?

¿Dónde te duele? – Where does it hurt?

¿Desde cuándo tienes estos síntomas? – Since when have you had these symptoms?

¿Es la primera vez que le pasa esto? – Is this the first time it’s happened?

Tienes que venir en ayunas – You need to come with an empty stomach/or without eating

There are certain tests, particularly blood tests when you need to have the test without having eaten anything that day. The doctor will usually schedule it for the morning and tell you to come en ayunas.

¿Tienes alergias? – Do you have allergies?

Tienes que hacerte unas pruebas – You have to have some tests

Has dado positivo/negativo por Covid – You have tested positive/negative for Covid

Tienes que quedarte en casa durante 10 días y no puedes tener contacto con tus convivientes – You have to stay at home for ten days and you can’t come into contact with the people you live with.

Tenemos que ingresarte en el hospital/en la UCI – We have to admit you to hospital/the ICU


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