The highly contagious omicron variant has many wondering about reinfection. NBC 7 spoke to a doctor about the likelihood of catching COVID-19 again.
Jyotu Sandhu, M.D, a family physician with Sharp HealthCare said vaccinated people are contracting the virus more than once.
“Whether you’re vaccinated or not, you have a chance of getting COVID-19. But the chances of you having a mild illness or even an asymptomatic illness is way higher if you’re vaccinated,” said Sandhu.
Another variable in how a person experiences a COVID-19 infection is behavior. When infected with the virus, a person is contagious on average, two days before and up to three days after they first experience symptoms.
“If you don’t have as severe of an illness, then chances are you’ll be less contagious because your symptoms are not there,” said Sandhu.
For example, if you were infected with the delta variant previously and recovered, you can still contract the omicron variant. But will it be more or less severe the second time around?
“A lot of that depends on vaccine status. So if people are unvaccinated, the omicron variant is just as bad as any other COVID variant,” said Sandhu.
But anecdotally, Sandhu said vaccinated people seem to experience less severe symptoms during a second infection.
“It really depends on people’s immunity. It depends on people’s underlying health,” said Sandhu.
The natural immunity after recovering from COVID-19 is reported to last between 4 to 6 months, but it all depends on the severity of the infection, Sandhu said. Multiple exposures to vaccines and viruses can help boost immunity, but up to what point, scientists are still trying to determine.
Sandhu told NBC 7 the best move is to get vaccinated and continue with booster shots to maintain the best protection possible against future variants.