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Here’s the German vocabulary you need to get the Covid-19 vaccine

From setting up an appointment to asking about side effects, here's the key vocabulary you'll need to know to get vaccinated auf Deutsch.

Here's the German vocabulary you need to get the Covid-19 vaccine
A vaccine centre in Berlin on May 27th. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soedern Erfurt on Friday. Photo: DPA

Originally Beeilt euch! (hurry up!) was the first phrase that came to mind when contemplating the German Covid-19 vaccine programme, which got off to a slower-than-anticipated start.

Yet now with nearly 45 percent of the German population having received at least one vaccine (as of Monday May 31st), and vaccine prioritisation set to end on June 7th, the campaign is clearly picking up speed.

READ ALSO: Germany to open up vaccines to all adults by June 7th: What you need to know

Here’s a quick guide to some of the medical vocabulary you might need. 

These are the phrases that could come in handy for booking the appointment and before getting the vaccine:

Die Corona-Impfung – the Covid vaccine

Ich möchte einen Termin zum Impfen ausmachen. – I would like to make an appointment to get vaccinated.

Welche Impfung werden sie mir geben? – Which vaccine will I be given?

Könnte ich eine allergische Reaktion haben? – Could I have an allergic reaction?

Welche Nebenwirkungen gibt es? – What are the side effects?

Wann bekomme ich meine zweite Dosis?– When will I have my second dose?

Wie werden Sie mich kontaktieren? – How will you contact me?

Kann ich mir aussuchen, in welchem Arm Sie mich impfen? – Can I choose which arm to get the vaccine in? 

(In this context, you might be asked if you are Linkshänder (left-handed) or Rechtshänder (right-handed).

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

Hatten Sie in den letzten drei Monaten Corona? – Have you had Covid-19 in the past three months?

Leiden Sie an schwere Allergien? – Do you have serious allergies?

Wurden Sie in den letzten beiden Wochen gegen Grippe geimpft? – Have you been vaccinated against the flu in the past two weeks?

Haben Sie Fieber oder andere Symptome? – Do you have fever or other symptoms?

Hatten Sie in letzter Zeit Kontakt mit einer infizierten Person? – Have you been in contact with someone infected recently?

Sind Sie schwanger? – Are you pregnant?

After you’ve finally received your vaccine, you might need to communicate how you’re feeling. Here’s some phrases:

Ich fühle mich gut. — I feel fine.

Das hat wehgetan. – That hurt.

Mir ist schwindlig. – I feel dizzy.

Ich glaube, ich muss mich übergeben. – I think I might throw up. 

Ich möchte mich hinsetzen. — I would like to sit down. 

Was muss ich tun, wenn ich Nebenwirkungen bekomme? – What do I need to do if I experience side effects?

Hopefully you won’t need these last few ones. Now that you’ve stocked up on vocabulary — you should be ready to get vaccinated, as soon as it’s available to you.

READ ALSO: German Health Minister predicts 90 percent of people who want vaccine will have one by mid-July

Member comments

  1. Thank you for this. I live close to Dortmund & I know I still have a wait, as they only just opened up reservations for people born in 1942 or 1943, & I was born in 1955. Plus I have no major medical problems, & in our area there are a lot of older people, massively overweight people, etc. etc. so I know calling my local Doctor is a waste of time right now.

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For members


Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

The German word 'Wanderlust' means "the desire to travel" and is used even in other languages. Here are some of the other words commonly used in Germany to describe the nation's love affair with travelling.

Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

Germans are very connected to nature and a lot of the activities they routinely do, even in winter, involve staying outdoors. So it’s no wonder the language also reflects that passion for walking, travelling, and spending time in nature.

Some of the German words that are most famous to speakers of other languages reference this passion. Perhaps most notably, the term “Wanderlust” which has made its way to other dictionaries, including Merriam-Webster, with the definition “a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering”.

The word is composed of “wandern“, which means to hike or roam about and “lust“, meaning “pleasure or delight”.

READ ALSO: Holiday like a local: Five of the best camping regions in Germany

This is not the only unique expression the German language has related to travelling. Another of the hard to translate ones is “Fernweh“. It comes from “fern“, meaning “far”, and “Weh“, meaning “pain”. It is used to describe the longing for far-off places – in contrast to “Heimweh”, a feeling many immigrants might be very attuned to and could be translated to homesickness.

The German language also has several interesting and even funny expressions for walkers and travellers alike. The Local talked with German teacher and travel enthusiast Lutz Michaelis to collect a few of the best expressions.

“So weit dich deine/mich meine Füße tragen”

It literally means “as far as my feet will take me” (or alternatively, “as far as your feet will take you”). It is often said as an answer to the question, “where are you going?”.

READ ALSO: Waldeinsamkeit: Five of the best forest walks around Berlin

“Die Sieben-Meilen-Stiefel anhaben”

“To wear the seven-league boots”. This means being able to walk long distances fast. Lutz explains that it was actually based on a trope in French mythology, in which magical boots could help the wearer cover long distances in a short amount of time. Having been used in The Little Thumb by Charles Perrault, the term was brought into the German language by writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

“Wer rastet, der rostet”

The translation would be “he who rests, rusts”. It is used in the German language to say that being in motion is a good thing, not only with travelling but also to incentivise people to keep learning new things.

“Das Reisen kost’t Geld, Doch sieht man die Welt.”

It’s a very common rhyme used to show the downsides and benefits of travelling: “travelling costs money, but one sees the world”.

“Reisende soll man nicht aufhalten.”

It literally means that “travellers shouldn’t be stopped”. However, Lutz explains that the expression is not only used to refer to travellers but also to anyone that might be going through a transitional situation – such as someone wanting to change their jobs, for example.

Rhododendren park Bremen

Rhododendrons bloom in the Rhododendron Park in Bremen. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sina Schuldt

“der Weg ist das Ziel.”

One of the most beautiful ones, and many languages have their own version of it. It translates to “the road is the destination”.

Of course, coming back home, especially for those suffering from Heimweh, can also be something beautiful. One common saying is “Wiedersehen macht Freude“, which means that to meet again brings happiness, used among those looking forward to seeing someone again after a long trip.

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

And one more…

In Germany, there is a common joke about finding German people abroad. The rhyme goes “Hüte dich vor Sturm und Wind, und Deutschen, die im Ausland sind“, which could be translated as “Be on your guard for storm and wind, and Germans in a foreign land”.

“It refers both to the bad behaviour of Germans on holidays or travels and a dark joke and a funny nod to the fact that German troops have invaded other countries”, Lutz, who is a German himself, explains.