EUROPE – A healthcare worker in Spain who is fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 was reportedly infected by two different variants of the virus within a 20 day span of time, which is the least amount of time between COVID infections on record in the world.
The worker, 31, was infected with the Delta variant in December 2021 and then again by the Omicron variant in January, according to reports by the BBC.
The Spaniard initially tested positive via a PCR test, and while she initially did not display any symptoms, she began to develop a cough and fever less than three weeks afterwards, and a second test taken at that time confirmed that she had been infected a second time.
According to Dr. Gemma Recio of the Institute Catala de Salut, the case of the Spanish healthcare worker illustrates that being fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 is no guarantee that you won’t be infected by the virus, perhaps even multiple times.
However, Dr. Recio noted, vaccines can at least help to protect from the infected developing a more serious case of COVID.
“Omicron can evade the previous immunity acquired either from a natural infection with other variants or from vaccines,” she said. “In other words, people who have had COVID-19 cannot assume they are protected against reinfection, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, both previous infection with other variants and vaccination do seem to partially protect against severe disease and hospitalization in those with Omicron.”
COVID-19 infections jumped greatly in December when the Omnicron variant – which was considered highly contagious when compared to previous strains – became the dominant form of the virus; recently, cases have spiked again when a sub-variant of Omnicron, BA.2, emerged in March.