We asked young people with Long Covid and parents caring for young people with Long Covid about their thoughts on possibly catching Covid again. This section covers:
- Concerns about reinfection
- Considering vaccination
Many described it as a constant worry and some talked about avoiding social events or even keeping their children off school over fear of reinfection.
Concerns about reinfection
A particular concern was that getting Covid again might make their Long Covid symptoms worse or cause a relapse. People worried about exposing their children to environments where Covid infection was more likely, such as schools.
Lindsey believes that her son’s immune system is low because of Long Covid. She says the thought of him catching it again is ‘scary.’
Although most people who talked about reinfection said they were worried about it, a few said that as time went on and they started to feel better they didn’t let it stop them doing things like going to the shops or socialising. One teenager we spoke to said she wasn’t worried about getting Covid again.
Ben is getting less worried as time goes on. He sometimes wears a mask when he’s out, but it depends on the situation.
Other people were concerned about getting Covid again because of certain risk factors for more severe disease. Diane wanted to ensure they could ‘function as a family.’ Ravi was also concerned that his Asian ethnic background would mean he would be more likely to get Covid again – he had already had it three times and was experiencing ongoing problems.
Age and ethnicity were factors that Diane was aware of when considering reinfection and the effect on her family.
Vaccination is widely seen as the best way to avoid infection with Covid. Several of the young people we spoke to had been vaccinated or were waiting to receive a vaccine for Covid. Views around vaccination were largely positive. People who had been vaccinated trusted that it would help to protect them from reinfection or lessen the chances of them getting very unwell if they caught it again.
Deidre was looking forward to her daughter getting vaccinated, saying, “The doctor we spoke to, the consultant that said that she had Long Covid said it was imperative that she had her Covid vaccine. I booked it in for the Easter holidays. She’s going to be so pleased!”
Abigail doesn’t want to catch Covid again for fear she would “plummet,” but says she’s happier now she’s been vaccinated.
People worried about new variants of Covid that might cause more severe illness than the variant they had been infected with. In the early days of the Omicron variant, it was not known whether it was more dangerous (as well as more infectious) and James, who we talked to in December 2021, was keen to have a second jab.
James worries about catching a new, possibly more severe variant of Covid and is very keen to get his second jab (interviewed in December 2021).
Because Long Covid is a relatively new condition, little is currently known about the effects of the vaccine on Long Covid itself. Some of the people we talked to had concerns about possible negative reactions from Covid-19 vaccination, particularly as they worried about the effect Long Covid had already had on their immune system. Some worried that it might make their Long Covid symptoms worse and were still agonising over the decision when we talked. Ben thought he would wait; his mum (who also has Long Covid) felt worse after her vaccine.
Michelle had a temporary reaction to her own vaccine and is concerned that if her son is vaccinated it might make his Long Covid worse.
Jasmine says she’s aware of people who have said getting the vaccine made their Long Covid symptoms worse. However, she just felt a “bit fluey” afterwards.
Jasmine is double vaccinated and said she didn’t have much of a reaction.
However, sometimes people within the same family held opposing views. Kate, who has Long Covid, found it particularly difficult that her eldest son was against vaccination. While Kathryn’s family were vaccinated, her partner was not.