Yes, you can absolutely get Covid twice. There was some debate over this in early 2019, but it soon became apparent that reinfection was possible. The truth is that there is still much we don’t know about coronavirus primarily due to the fact that not enough time has passed. It could be years before we understand rates of reinfection and the long-term effects of the virus. At this point, all we really know for sure is that reinfection has occurred in some cases.
Currently, our best defense against Covid is vaccination and COVID testing for businesses. Pfizer and Moderna have both proven highly effective against the Delta variant, but they also do not make us entirely invulnerable to this highly transmittable strain. To get a better understanding of the current risks, let’s take a look at the data being released on the effectiveness of major Covid vaccines against the delta variant.
Keep in mind that this data is preliminary. The delta variant is fairly new, so much of this information is a mixture of controlled studies and real-life data. Overall, the current consensus is that the individuals who completed their two-shot vaccine program at least two weeks ago are the most protected. Those who skipped the second shot or received a single shot vaccine should act with caution, as their protection is relatively minimal against the delta variant. This is the current data for those who have been vaccinated.
Although one Israeli study shows much lower numbers, an additional five studies performed in different countries (England, Scotland, United States, India, and Canada) all came to similar results. They collectively found that two weeks after completing the second shot, the Pfizer vaccine was:
There is less data currently available for the Moderna vaccine. Early studies suggest that protection against the delta variant is “good to excellent” two weeks after the second shot. However, a small laboratory study conducted in New York compared Pfizer to Moderna. They showed that both vaccines provided similar levels of protection against symptomatic illness and infection.
There is also a lack of data available for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with only a handful of studies to compare. The two studies that did offer percentage of effectiveness suggest that the single-shot vaccine is 67-85% effective against serious infection with protection improving in the weeks following the shot.
This data demonstrates that our vaccines are working even against a more virulent strain. However, that doesn’t mean we can afford to throw caution to the wind. In the month of May 99.2% of those who died from Covid were unvaccinated, and we as a society have to do what we can to shield those who do not have the protection of a vaccine for whatever reason.
To that end, the Centers for Disease Control suggests that we continue to wear masks while inside and in close proximity to other people. Of course masks are not perfect solutions. All the average mask does is reduce the spread of droplets. So you should still undergo Covid testing if you have been exposed or are showing potential symptoms.
Luckily, COVID testing in Los Angeles is made easy by organizations like Path MD Labs. You may even be eligible for free testing through your insurance, and you can have your PCR results the same day. With widespread vaccination and continued testing, we can get through this together.