Can You Get Covid Twice Within 3 Months

Science: “Increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection associated with emergence of Omicron in South Africa.”

Can You Get COVID Twice?

If you’ve had COVID-19, you probably know the drill – masks, social distancing, tests, quarantine, and recovery. Maybe you got vaccines and boosters for extra protection.

But now you have chills, fever, a scratchy throat, and a runny nose. Could you have COVID-19 again?

Research shows you can get it twice. Even more than twice, in some cases. Here’s everything you need to know about COVID-19 reinfection.

How Can You Get COVID Again?

After you’ve recovered from your first bout of COVID-19, you have some protection against the virus. But research on the older variants found that the natural immunity (specific antibodies) your body builds against COVID -19 goes away 2-3 months after infection.

Researchers are studying the newer variants to learn when you might be at the most risk for reinfection.

If you’re vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s still possible to get reinfected and spread it to others. When the coronavirus gets past your vaccine immunity, doctors call it a “breakthrough infection.” That’s because COVID-19 vaccines work better at protecting you against some variants than others. But you’re less likely to have serious symptoms or be hospitalized if you’ve been vaccinated.

Are Variants to Blame for Reinfection?

Ever since the coronavirus began to infect people, it’s mutated and created many variants. These mutations, or changes in the virus’s genes, allow it to get past the protection your body or the COVID-19 vaccine can offer. This makes some variants more contagious (transmissible), or easy to spread, than others. This can also increase your odds of reinfection with every new COVID-19 wave.

For example, the Delta variant, prevalent in early to mid-2021, was thought to be the most contagious. But the more recent Omicron variant is now the top (dominant) variant in the U.S. Research shows it spreads faster, and more easily, than both the Delta variant and the original virus that caused COVID-19.

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Can You Get Omicron Twice?

It’s hard to know if the same variant can infect you twice. That’s because COVID-19 tests don’t identify variants.

But your doctor might assume you have the variant causing most COVID-19 infections at the time you get sick. Currently, the Omicron offshoot causing most infections is BA.5.

Who’s at Risk for Getting COVID-19 Again?

Anyone can get COVID-19 more than once. But some people have more risk of reinfection.

Unvaccinated people. Studies show unvaccinated people who’ve already had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely as fully vaccinated people to get reinfected. That’s because vaccines protect you longer than natural immunity.

Immunocompromised people. If you have a weak immune system, you’re more likely to get COVID-19 again, even if you’re vaccinated and you’ve had the virus before. That’s because the vaccine may not be as effective for you. Doctors recommend taking booster shots to lower your odds of reinfection.

If you’re an essential worker who comes into contact with people often, like a health care worker or a first responder, that exposure makes you more likely to get COVID-19 again.

How Can You Prevent Reinfection?

To avoid getting COVID-19 again, follow the same steps you might’ve taken to prevent it in the first place. You should:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. If you’re 5 or above, you’re also eligible for booster shots. If you have immune system problems or you work in health care, you might need more booster shots. Talk to your doctor about it.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask in crowded spaces or indoors. Make sure it covers your nose and mouth.
  • Socially distance whenever possible. Stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Disinfect surfaces you use regularly, like countertops, handles, desks, and phones.
  • Take precautions when you travel.

Show Sources

CDC: “COVID-19 after Vaccination: Possible Breakthrough Infection,” “Reinfections and COVID-19,” “How to Protect Yourself & Others,” “Quarantine and Isolation,” “Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know,” “Science Brief: SARS-CoV-2 Infection-induced and Vaccine-induced Immunity.”

Science: “Increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection associated with emergence of Omicron in South Africa.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Can You Get COVID-19 Twice?”

Mayo Clinic: “Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?”

Can you get Covid twice within 3 or 6 months? How quickly you can catch coronavirus again

Boosters are the primary way the Government plans to tackle the virus over winter, as data shows vaccine efficacy does wane a little – and you can catch Covid twice

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JUNE 22: Darryl Duffy, 30 from Gosforth receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine at a new . Pop Up. vaccination service on June 22, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The new . Pop Up. vaccination service based at Times Square in Newcastle will add an additional 2000 weekly appointments, initially opening four days a week and offering up to 500 vaccinations a day, starting on Tuesday 22nd June. Vaccinations will be available from 8.30am until 7pm on a first come, first serve basis, requiring patients to collect a ticket and queue. The large vaccination centre based inside the Centre for Life continues to vaccinate people who have booked through the National Booking Service and has increased its capacity to around 1500 people a day. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

September 19, 2021 8:44 am (Updated October 27, 2021 8:21 am )

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The Government has announced that it will start offering booster Covid-19 vaccinations, with the first appointments expected next week.

All those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and anyone aged 16 to 65 in an at-risk group for Covid-19 (who were included in priority groups one to nine during the initial vaccine rollout) will also be eligible for a jab.

These boosters are the primary way the Government plans to tackle the virus over the winter months, as data has shown that efficacy of the vaccine does wane a little over time – and that it is also possible to catch Covid-19 twice.

What we know about getting Covid twice

It is possible to catch Covid-19 twice, though it is unlikely.

When you are infected by the virus your body will normally develop antibodies. These antibodies will remain for a period of time, meaning the next time coronavirus tries to infect you, your immune system can fight it off.

As Corinne Harvey, director of operations for the Yorkshire and Humber region for Public Health England, told the Yorkshire Post: “When you get infected with a virus, you usually gain some protection against further infection from the same virus through your immune system.

“This is called immunity and can be short-lived or long-lasting. Immunity can also mean that you could still get infected with the same virus but may be protected against severe disease.”

Several studies have shown that for most people, catching Covid-19 means you should be protected from getting it again for at least six months.

Reasearch by UK Biobank found that 88 per cent of 1,699 people with Covid-19 antibodies still had them after six months.

A separate study by Public Health England showed that people who have caught Covid-19 should be protected from getting it again for at least five months.

A third study of over 12,000 people working in four English hospitals found that people who developed antibodies after Covid infection were protected against the disease for six months, and reinfection was very rare.

But this will vary from person to person. It is very unlikely, but not impossible, that someone could get Covid twice in a fairly short space of time – such as within a few months.

Data shows that fully vaccinated people are much less likely to catch Covid-19 twice than those who are not.

How does vaccine efficacy decline over time?

Pfizer and Moderna have both said protection from their Covid-19 vaccines can wane over time.

Pfizer’s data showed the efficacy of its jab fell about 6 per cent every two months after the second dose, down from 96.2 per cent a week after full vaccination to 83.7 per cent after just over four months.

And a study by Zoe Covid showed that for AstraZeneca, the vaccine was 77 per cent effective a month after the second dose, falling to 67 per cent after four to five months.

This data supports the use of booster vaccines, with the Government hoping to offer everyone in the top priority groups a third jab by the end of the year.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population []; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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