Covid19 Testing & Vaccine Guide
Updated: December 30, 2021
We made a separate post for the curfew and Covid19 restrictions for Monaco and the French Riviera, and Health Pass requirements.
If you’ve been vaccinated outside of the EU, here’s a guide to how to obtain an EU health pass.
Getting Vaccinated for Covid19 in France
If you want to get vaccinated in France, you can do so easily at most pharmacies (without an appointment, or you can make an appointment on Doctolib) or at any of the many vaccination centers (some with and some without an appointment). A vaccine booster dose will be available to all those aged 18 and over from 5 months after their last injection.
Getting Vaccinated for Covid19 in Monaco
If you are a Monaco resident, call +37792055500 (warning: they often refuse to speak English) or sign up on this website to request a call back in order to make an appointment to get vaccinated. At the vaccination center, you will need to show your Monaco residency card. A vaccine booster dose is available –and required– for all those aged 18 and over from 6 months after their last injection. Currently, only one vaccine is available in Monaco: the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Here’s how the Pfizer vaccine works.
Types of Covid19 Tests
A diagnostic test, sometimes called a “viral test,” looks for signs that you have a current infection.
An antibody test, or “serology test,” looks for signs that you were previously infected with the virus. It can take as long as three weeks for a blood antibody test to turn positive, so it’s not useful as a diagnostic test for someone with a new infection or symptoms. Antibody / serology testing is usually done after full recovery from COVID-19.
As with all tests, there are nearly zero false positives (less than 1.5%) but all the tests have significant amounts of false negative rates. This means that even if you test negative, you should get tested up to three times to be sure. Many people with COVID-19 have reported getting 2 or 3 negative test results before testing positive. The closer you are to the date you were infected, the higher your chance of getting a false-negative result.
Diagnostic Tests (that work after 5 days)
The PCR test (via nasal swab, available at pharmacies) is based on detecting the virus’s genome and has an up-to-30% false-negative rate (and up to 100% if done in less than 5 days from when you were infected). It has a lower false-negative rate if you are tested between 5 and 10 days of becoming infected. It takes 24 hours to get the results.
Saliva tests (for children, available at the Screening Centre) are an alternative to nasal swabs and perform comparably.
An antigen test (via nasal swab, available at pharmacies) gives you the results in 15 to 30 minutes, but this is not a good test, as it has an up-to-42% false-negative rate. If you’ve been around someone with Covid19 or have a reason to suspect you have it, then you should not do this test, and instead get the more accurate PCR test.
Antibody Tests (that work after 3 weeks)
The finger-prick / serological / TROD / rapid test is not one you should take if you want to know if you currently have COVID-19, since it only looks for antibodies, which take 3 weeks to develop. It determines whether you are immune to the virus, even if you have not had any COVID-19 symptoms or are not currently infected. It simply involves a finger prick blood test, with results available in 10 minutes. It is not the correct test for a new infection. You will not need to quarantine if you get a positive result, but you will need to follow up with a PCR test to see if you are currently infected.
A blood sample can be taken in a medical analysis laboratory to find out if you have been in contact with the virus within the past few months. It tests for antibodies in your blood. In the event of a positive test, it may be necessary to carry out a PCR test to find out if you are still infected with the virus.
Places to Get Tested for Covid19 in Monaco
The government has set up a ‘National Screening & Vaccination Centre’ in Auditorium Rainier III where Monaco locals can get vaccinated and tested. Call Monaco’s COVID call center at +37792055500 with any questions.
For People Who Have Symptoms
If you develop symptoms (a high fever and respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath), please isolate yourself and contact the Screening Centre at +37792055500 (open from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm) or email [email protected]. If your health worsens to the point where you need immediate medical attention, contact the emergency services directly on 18 or 112 and they will come to help you at your home. To avoid infecting others, please do not visit your normal doctor or go to the hospital, and do not leave your apartment or hotel room. Have your groceries delivered to your doorstep (non-contact) and pay online in advance.
For High-Risk Monaco Locals
If you have been in contact with someone who tested positive (even if you are vaccinated), you will need to get a PCR test at the Screening Centre. They will give you the correct type of test for your situation. Call +3779205550 to make an appointment. In the meantime, you should self-isolate.
For Everyone Else
Antigen (for current infections) and finger-prick (for past infections) tests can be performed at most pharmacies (call to make an appointment), and you can get the results in about 30 minutes. For tests carried out by nurses or pharmacists, the cost is €10, which is the cost of the rapid diagnostic test, plus a supplement for carrying out the test which must not exceed €15. For tests carried out by private doctors, the cost is €10 plus the consultation fee.
If you need to be tested in advance of a trip, you must make an appointment with a Monaco medical analysis laboratory for a PCR (nasal) test. They will give you the certificate you need for travel.
If you've been in contact with someone who tested positive, you’ll need to go to the testing center at Espace Leo Ferré. Do not go to your doctor or a pharmacy, as you may infect other people, and they don’t have the correct type of test for you (PCR).
Smart Disinfecting Gadget
The Grimaldi Forum is now equipped with new machines capable of disinfecting all types of face masks in just minutes, extending their lifespan and helping to reduce PPE waste. With one easy touch, the device opens, the mask or object is inserted, closed, and disinfected. Masks take two minutes to disinfect. The UV-C LED technology is said to remove over 99.99% of viruses and bacteria from objects, including Covid-19. Buy one here.