Covid-19: The essential Italian you need to know for getting tested and vaccinated

Karli Drinkwater
Karli Drinkwater - [email protected]
Covid-19: The essential Italian you need to know for getting tested and vaccinated
A medical worker prepares a dose of Moderna vaccine against the COVID-19 on March 13, 2021 at the local health authority (ASL) offices in Dronero, Maira Valley, near Cuneo, Northwestern Italy, as part of a home vaccination campaign with the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 for residents over 80-years-old. (Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP)

By now it's likely you've learned some vocab related to Covid, viruses and vaccinations. But what if you start experiencing symptoms or are called up for your jab? Here are the phrases to help you navigate your medical care in Italian.


Being in hospital for any reason is a stressful situation and even more so if you're not totally sure what your doctor or nurse is saying to you.

It can be difficult to find English-speaking doctors in Italy, even in the bigger cities, so it's good to be prepared and brush up on your language skills to make the whole experience a little smoother.

Covid-19 vaccination phrases:

When it's your turn to get your vaccination, here's the language you may need to use:

Il vaccino – the vaccine

Quale vaccino mi farete?/Quale vaccino avró? – Which vaccine will I get?

Potrei avere una reazione allergica? – Could I have an allergic reaction?

Quali sono gli effeti collaterali? – What are the side effects?

Quando avró la seconda dose? – When will I have my second dose?

Come mi contatterete? – How are you going to get in touch with me?

Posso scegliere su quale braccio fare il vaccino? – Can I choose which arm to get the vaccine on?


Essential vocabulary for symptoms:

If you think you may have caught Covid, here are some phrases that will allow you to express your symptoms and get checked out.

Sospetto/penso di avere il Covid – I suspect I have Covid

Devo andare in ospedale? – Do I have to go the hospital?

Devo andare/stare in isolamento mentre aspetto i risultati? – Do I have to self-isolate while I wait for the results?

Vorrei prendere un appuntamento – I would like to make an appointment

Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP

Mi fa male qui – It hurts here

Ho la febbre – I have a fever

Mi gira la testa – I feel dizzy

Ho la tosse secca – I have a dry cough

Ho perso il gusto/l'olfatto – I’ve lost my sense of taste/smell

Ho difficoltà a respirare/Faccio fatica a respirare – I’m having difficulty breathing

Ho la nausea e ho vomitato – I am feeling nauseated and have vomited

Ho male allo stomaco/Ho male alla pancia – I’ve got stomach ache/I've got tummy ache (belly area)

Ho la diarrea – I’ve got diarrhoea 


Medical tests:

You may need to undergo some tests to check if you're positive or negative for Covid. The following shows the vocabulary you'll need to understand the various tests your doctor may mention.

La PCR – PCR test

Il test antigenico – antigen test

Analisi del sangue – Blood test

Analisi delle urine – Urine test

Raggi-X/Radiografia – X-ray

Quando arrivano i risultati? – When will the results come back?

Photo by Fred SCHEIBER / AFP

What the doctor might ask or tell you:

Sei venuto a contatto con persone positive al Covid? –  Have you come into contact with a person who’s tested positive for Covid?

Sei venuto a contatto con altre persone?  – Have you come into contact with other people?

Dove fa male? – Where does it hurt?

Da quando hai questi sintomi? – Since when have you had these symptoms?

È la prima volte che ti succede? – Is this the first time it’s happened?

Devi venire a stomaco vuoto/a digiuno – You need to come with an empty stomach/without eating

There are certain tests, particularly blood tests, for which you need to skip your meals that day. Your doctor may ask you to come digiuno, or 'on an empty stomach'.

Hai allergie? – Do you have allergies?

Dobbiamo fare qualche test – We have to run some tests

Sei risultato positivo/negativo al Covid – You have tested positive/negative for Covid

Devi stare a casa per 14 giorni e non puoi entrare a contatto con le persone con cui vivi – You have to stay at home for 14 days and you can’t come into contact with the people you live with

Dobbiamo portarti in ospedale/Terapia Intensiva – We have to admit you to hospital/the ICU

Hopefully you won't need some of these phrases, but knowing the language you may need is half the fight to keeping calm through these processes.


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2021/03/22 20:51
Could you provide more information on how someone who does not participate in ASL can get vaccinated? The conventional procedure -- making the reservation -- involves one's tessera sanitaria, and one cannot finalize the online application without this information. Thank you.

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