As we anticipate the arrival of a deadly third wave of COVID-19, more and more people are being vaccinated in order to prevent the increasing rate of mortality due to the virus. While vaccination may not seem to be the means to prevent COVID-19 re-infection, it is definitely proven to bring down the severity of the infection, the rate of transmission and the need for hospitalisation.
Several studies regarding the vaccine, in all parts of the world, are still on. But one must remember that any of these vaccines available to you are efficient and must not be avoided.
What is COVID-19 re-infection?
As the name suggests, it means contracting a second time COVID-19 after being infected previously and after recovering from the virus. While quite a few cases of COVID-19 re-infection have been reported, reinfection remains rare.
So what causes reinfection?
It is a fact that our immune system can remember certain infections very well but tend to forget others, especially the ones that appear in a changed form may be due to mutation and the emergence of newer variants. In such cases, the antibodies that our immunity produced may not be as responsive as to the originally encountered strain. It is also possible to get an infection with the same strain again, however, there are high chances that your body’s immunity will control the spread of infection and prevent you from getting a severe illness. The severity of illness and complications also depend on other pre-existing medical conditions of a person. It is important to understand that anyone can get reinfection with COVID so, stay safe by following COVID appropriate behaviour and get a full course of vaccination.
Who is at a higher risk of COVID-19 re-infection?
Various factors can make a person vulnerable and may increase the risk of COVID-19 re-infection.
- People who think having COVID-19 once or being fully vaccinated means they cannot get infected again are wrong. If you stop taking preventive measures after being infected with COVID-19 once or after full vaccination, it only puts you at a higher risk of getting re-infected. You will still have to avoid gatherings and unnecessary travels.
- Weak immunity can be another risk factor of COVID-19 re-infection. People who have been immunocompromised due to chemotherapy, organ transplant, AIDS or autoimmune disorders are at greater risk of COVID-19 reinfection.
- Elderly people with other comorbidities may be at greater risk than younger people.
Can I get a COVID-19 re-infection after the COVID vaccination?
Once a person is fully vaccinated, the defence mechanism of the body allows them to recognise the virus and fight it. One must remember that none of these vaccines claims to have 100% efficacy. The only assurance these vaccines provide is that if you get re-infected with COVID-19 once you are fully vaccinated; your infection will be far less severe and symptoms will be mild. The virus has already taken innumerable lives and getting vaccinated is your best bet. But it does not guarantee 100% protection from re-infection.
The Delta variant is a concern for all and studies show that most of the vaccines are effective against it. As the virus has mutated several times, it has become more and more difficult to keep track of it. It has only become stronger, faster and created havoc around the globe.
Another important thing to note here is that it takes about two weeks for your body, after vaccination, to build immunity against the virus. It is possible to contract the virus immediately after getting vaccinated. This is why even if you are fully vaccinated, you must continue to follow the guidelines and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour sincerely.
Full vaccination is important at any cost.
COVID-19 vaccination not only ensures your safety but also protects people around you as the transmission rate decreases. A higher vaccination rate will make outbreaks less likely and will help to achieve herd immunity. In the long run, It may effectively reduce certain restrictions as well as the socio-economic aftermath of the pandemic.
As we continue to learn more about COVID-19 re-infection, it is critical that we do not question the importance of vaccination. Yes, fully vaccinated people can get re-infected. But they are also capable of fighting it back better than non-vaccinated people. This is a battle we are fighting together and even if there is one unprotected individual, none of us is completely safe. Wear a mask, maintain distance, wash hands frequently and get vaccinated.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.