Can you catch Omicron Covid twice?


Hand holding a COVID-19 rapid test with a positive result
Can you have Omicron twice? (Picture: Getty)

While the Covid pandemic has been ongoing for nearly two years now, the newest Omicron strain only emerged in November 2021.

It was first found in Botswana and South Africa, before making its way to the UK – with the country’s first case being recorded in late November.

This version of the virus has spread rapidly around the country ever since, not to mention the rest of the globe.

Lots has been said about its symptoms differing to other variants – and there are concerns about lateral flow test efficiency in picking up early Omicron infection.

But what about reinfection? Can you get Omicron more than once, as you can with other Covid variants?

It’s early days in terms of research, but here’s what we know.

Can you catch Omicron twice?

Right now, it’s too early to say whether you can have a case of Omicron twice.

This is because 90 days need to pass between positive tests, before a Covid infection can be classed as a reinfection.

As per gov.uk: ‘If an individual is re-tested 90 days or more after their initial illness onset or prior test date, and is found to be PCR positive, this should be considered as a possible new infection.’

Omicron was discovered around mid-November. It was declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 26.

Therefore, 90 days haven’t even passed yet since it was discovered.

Portrait of depressed woman sitting alone on bed, looking to outside the window.
It looks likely that Omicron will be able to inflect you twice (Picture: Getty)

That said, what research we do have currently suggests that it will be possible to become reinfected with Omicron.

A study – by Imperial College London, WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling and other official bodies – shows that Omicron will be five times more likely to reinfect than Delta.

This study was published around a month ago on December 16, 2021. So, it’s all very new information.

We do know for definite that it is possible to be reinfected with other variants of Covid, such as Delta.

Studies have also shown the importance of getting vaccinated against Covid to avoid reinfection.

One such study, published by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in August 2021, analysed data from former Covid patients residing in the US state of Kentucky.

The analysis showed that un-jabbed people were more than twice as likely to be reinfected with Covid than their vaccinated counterparts.

MORE : Experts deny existence of ‘Deltacron’ – new variant combining Omicron and Delta

MORE : Is a sore throat a symptom of Omicron? Full exploration of symptoms here

MORE : Omicron is ‘first ray of light’ that Covid may become similar to common cold

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