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Can you catch COVID-19 more than once?

Since Omicron has emerged, cases of COVID-19 reinfection are becoming more common.

COVID-19 reinfections are becoming common

As new waves hit different parts of the world, the risk of reinfection rises.


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What is reinfection?

Reinfection refers to someone who had COVID-19 infection, recovered, and then caught it again. Studies found that people who are unvaccinated were twice as likely to be reinfected. This is in comparison to people who had two doses of the vaccine. Additional details can be found here.

Protection from previous COVID-19 infections or vaccination declines over time.

The CDC defines reinfection as “test[ing] positive again 90 days or more after their first positive test.”

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) suspects that about 10% of confirmed COVID cases in England this January were from reinfection.


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Is COVID any easier the second time?

Research suggests that reinfections are typically mild.

A study done in Qatar found that these cases “have 90 percent lower odds of resulting in hospitalization or death than primary infections.”

However, severity is dependent on the immune system of the patient.

Reinfection can bring added immunity but hybrid immunity is the best.

Hybrid immunity refers to having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and having been infected and recovered. This “super-immunity” doesn’t exclude you from the possibility of long COVID.


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How can I avoid it?

The current guidelines to protect against COVID-19 are still effective. The WHO is still recommending vaccination for those yet to receive it.

Social distancing, avoiding crowds and close contact, masking, and hand washing are all ways to prevent COVID-19 or a reinfection.


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