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You survived COVID-19 and emerged victorious, and now you feel invincible. Particularly after you’ve been vaccinated, can you get COVID twice? Sounds unlikely, right?

We are sorry to say but it is not entirely accurate. According to experts, you are not immune just because you have caught and recovered from the virus.

Breakthrough instances are conceivable even in fully vaccinated individuals who have previously been unwell – in fact, if you have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated, you may be at an even greater risk of being ill again.

Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease expert, addresses your concerns concerning COVID-19 reinfection, including how to best protect yourself against infection in the future.

Can you get COVID twice? Yes! Here’s why:

Yes, you may get COVID-19 several times. “We’re seeing more reinfections today than we were at the outbreak’s start, which is unsurprising,” Dr. Esper adds. He delves into the causes for reinfection.

The epidemic has been ongoing for some time: in December 2021, the United States exceeded 50 million instances of COVID-19 since the outbreak began. “At this time, many of those illnesses occurred months or even years ago,” Dr. Esper explains. “Over time, the immunity to those first infections starts to diminish.”

Vaccine immunity, too, deteriorates with time: Immunity may also be waning in Americans who had vaccinations as early as winter 2020. This is one of the reasons why receiving your third dosage is crucial.

We’ve lost our vigilance: The early days of widespread attention surrounding safety procedures such as masks, handwashing, and social isolation — all of which originally worked to keep the virus at bay — are long gone.

The new varieties are very contagious: COVID-19 variations are more infectious than the coronavirus’s initial wave. “These variations are capable of overriding some of the protection that individuals have acquired from vaccination or past infection,” Dr. Esper adds.

“When you combine all four of those factors, it’s unsurprising that we’re seeing an increase in patients being infected for the second time,” Dr. Esper adds.

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Can you get COVID twice with variations?

According to the CDC, the delta version is at least twice as infectious than earlier forms, and omicron became the main variant in the United States in December. It is more infectious than delta virus.

However, you may be shocked to discover that the coronavirus does not evolve nearly as much as the influenza virus, which alters practically every aspect of its appearance from year to year. Instead, Dr. Esper asserts, it is the contagiousness of COVID-19 that makes it so infectious.

“This variant’s infectiousness — including its capacity to escape immune systems and prevent those infected with it from developing long-lasting immunity — is one of the reasons it has been able to survive and resurface,” he continues.

Who is at risk of reinfection with COVID-19?

We now know that anybody may get COVID-19 — those who have been vaccinated and those who have not, those who have had it before and those who have not. In a similar manner, anybody may get COVID-19 once again.

“It’s critical to remember that we’re still learning a great deal about reinfections and who is at risk for them,” Dr. Esper adds. However, physicians are aware that some individuals are at a greater risk than others.

Infection recurrence in unvaccinated individuals

Think you don’t need to be vaccinated since you had COVID-19? Think again. 

“This virus has the ability to overcome the host’s immunity and induce a secondary infection,” Dr. Esper explains. “According to reports, immunization gives a longer period of protection than spontaneous illness.”

He’s referring to research that found that unvaccinated individuals are 2.34 times likelier to get COVID-19 than those who are completely vaccinated — emphasizing the critical nature of vaccination, even if you’ve previously had the virus.

“Almost all of the serious cases we’re seeing right now are from individuals who have not been vaccinated,” he adds.

Infection recurrence in immunocompromised individuals

Immunocompromised persons are at a greater risk of COVID-19 reinfection than the general population, leading the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to permit booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines.

“We’ve long known that persons with immunological issues have a lower response to vaccines and are more likely to get a second illness after vaccination,” Dr. Esper explains. Booster injections are intended to help mitigate this risk.

Data shows COVID-19 vaccinations are effective

Breakthrough instances of COVID-19, including reinfection in vaccinated individuals, are not indicative of the vaccine’s failure to act.

“There is a well-coordinated and comprehensive campaign against vaccinations, and those who oppose vaccination want to exaggerate breakthrough illnesses as an excuse not to be vaccinated,” Dr. Esper explains. “However, the safety and benefit of vaccination are really substantial, and they greatly surpass the hazards of vaccination, which are extremely minor.”

In a nutshell Vaccination continues to be crucial. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, now is the moment – for your own protection and the safety of those around you.

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