KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Teressa Reagan is no stranger to COVID-19. She's had the virus three times in the last 8 months. Just like her, many people have gotten COVID-19 more than once.
"People have gotten more than one COVID infection," said Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University's infectious disease specialist. "It's probably because they've had exposure to different variants."
Schaffner said it is possible to get COVID-19n more than once whether you are vaccinated or not. He said the vaccine makes a difference in how our bodies react after getting re-infected COVID-19.
In Reagan's situation, she is unvaccinated and has started to develop long-COVID symptoms.
"I get brain fog," Reagan said. "I can be right in the middle of doing something and just totally forget what I'm doing."
Schaffner said if unvaccinated people get COVID-19 again, there is a chance symptoms could linge.
"There are aches and pains, a feeling of real tiredness and a lack of energy and need to take naps, headaches, aches and pains," Schaffner. "There is also the brain fog."
Reagan said she's been dealing with symptoms since the first time she was diagnosed.
"I still have a lot of issues with breathing oxygen. I have a fever from time to time just from having it too I guess," Reagan said.
Schaffner said people can also still get COVID-19 if they are vaccinated — but the symptoms, in most cases, aren't as severe. He said there's no real set of time between one infection to the next.
"There has not yet been an established set amount of time - days, weeks months - between a first infection with COVID and a second," Schaffner said. "I suspect that that's going to vary a great deal from person to person."