Can you get Covid twice? Public Health England expert explains

A public health expert has addressed concerns around being able to catch Covid-19 twice.

Covid social distancing sign. (Pic credit: Tony Johnson)

Since the pandemic started, there have been a total of 5.76 million Covid cases in England.

From the beginning of this year, more than 40 million people in England have had their first Covid vaccinations, while more than 35 million have been fully vaccinated.

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There are currently at least 13 different types of Covid-19 vaccines being used around the world, the main in the UK being Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

A recent study by ZOE COVID has shown that the effectiveness of the vaccines has waned over time, particularly against the Delta variant. The data was collected from app contributors who logged their Covid vaccinations between December 8, 2020 and July 31, 2021.

The data showed that initial protection against infection a month after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine was 88 per cent, but five to six months later, this dropped to 74 per cent.

For AstraZeneca, there was originally around 77 per cent protection a month after the second dose. This then decreased to 67 per cent after four to five months.

The question on everyone’s lips is, can you get Covid twice? According to Public Health England (PHE) Yorkshire and Humber, you can. But it’s rare.

Corinne Harvey, director of operations for the Yorkshire and Humber region for PHE has explained.

“When you get infected with a virus, you usually gain some protection against further infection (reinfection) from the same virus through your immune system,” she said.

“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.”

Statistics show that England has only had 137 confirmed reinfection cases out of 35,124 possible reinfections to the end of week 30 in 2021.

“As Covid-19 has not gone away, it’s important to remember the actions you can take to keep yourself and others safe,” Ms Harvey added.

“While cases are high, everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious. If you are unfortunate enough to have Covid-19 more than once, you still need to follow the same guidance as someone catching it for the first time.”

For a refresher on the government’s Covid guidelines, click here.