Yes, it is possible to get reinfected with COVID-19. This is especially true for unvaccinated individuals who have already had COVID-19. Research by the CDC found that unvaccinated patients were twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than patients who received the vaccine after they recovered. This means getting Covid twice and being vaccinated is rare, but even that is not impossible, which is why you should always turn to COVID-19 testing if you develop symptoms or suspect you have been exposed. Especially as Covid variants become more widespread, and more people across the world get access to vaccines and boosters, it’s important to understand why and how people get reinfected with COVID-19, as well as the overall reinfection rate compared to new infections.
In a University of Missouri School of Medicine study including more than 9,000 US patients who experienced severe COVID-19 infection, less than 1% of patients became reinfected with COVID-19. This means that, while reinfection is a risk, the Covid reinfection rate is quite low. Non-white patients were more likely to be reinfected than white patients, while asthma and nicotine dependence were other indicators that a patient was at greater risk for reinfection.
According to a California study following reinfected patients, the Covid reinfection hospitalization rate is 11%, compared to a 5% hospitalization rate during the initial infection. This means those reinfected with COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized. However, it’s also the case that the most severe complications like heart failure, acute kidney injury, and pneumonia may be less likely in cases of reinfection. So, while patients may be more likely to end up in the hospital after getting reinfected with COVID-19, they are also more likely to leave it.
The death rate among patients reinfected with COVID-19 is between 1-3%, which is comparable to the overall global death rate of 3.4%. However, unvaccinated patients are 11 times more likely to die from a COVID-19 reinfection than a vaccinated patient.
Studies and observational data indicate that post-Covid immunity lasts between 60-90 days. This means if you are wondering “can you get Covid twice within a month?” that circumstance seems to be incredibly rare, though each person’s immune response is unique. If you have recovered from COVID-19 and received a negative PCR test result, but begin experiencing a recurrence of symptoms, it’s essential to get tested. Whether the initial infection has recurred or a second exposure has led to a COVID-19 reinfection, one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others is by determining if you are still Covid-positive.
Getting COVID-19 twice within a month may be unlikely, but can you get Covid twice within 3 months? That answer seems to be yes, especially in cases where antibodies have been formed in response to an active COVID-19 infection and not a vaccine.
No, a positive antibody test result does not mean you are immune to COVID-19. Individuals who are positive for COVID-19 antibodies can still contract and transmit the virus, even if they are not themselves showing symptoms. The presence of antibodies in your system means that your immune system has previously identified and reacted to protein molecules (spike proteins) on the outside of the COVID-19 virus.
Any vaccine, whether for COVID-19 or other viruses like the flu, encourages the immune system to develop antibodies through exposure to inactive or weakened viruses and/or bacteria. Without a vaccine, the only way for the immune system to develop antibodies is by fighting off a full-blown instance of illness. However, some individuals never develop antibodies, whether in response to a vaccine or sickness.
BioCollections is an international leader in infectious disease testing, including COVID-19 testing for new cases or when reinfection is suspected. Our private labs can provide PCR test results in 24-48 hours, allowing people to ease their worries about whether they have Covid through a reliable COVID-19 test. Refer to our list of worldwide branches and laboratories to see if one of our drive-through COVID-19 testing locations is close enough to serve you, with no appointment necessary.