Long Covid Support and Long Covid Kids publish the first ever data on the effect of Covid reinfections on people with Long Covid




Click here to read the full report: pdfReinfections in Long Covid Survey Report by Long Covid Support & Long Covid Kids (PDF)



Long Covid has already impacted the lives of tens of millions of people globally, at least two million in the UK alone. Our survey of almost 600 people makes clear that reinfection makes Long Covid worse in the majority of those who are still living with it (80%) and can cause it to recur in those who have recovered (60%). It can also cause a new case of Long Covid in people who had recovered unremarkably from a previous infection. 

Every repeat infection poses a risk of Long Covid. We know already that anyone can suffer from Long Covid, even previously healthy adults and children - there is no strong risk factor related to health or demographics. 

The Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Bank of England have noted the impact of Long Covid on the workforce, so it is vital for the economy, as well as the nation’s health, that we prevent more cases and also find a cure for those who already have Long Covid.

We are calling for people with a history of Long Covid to be added to priority groups for antiviral treatment and for the introduction of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  



“Our research underlines the importance of avoiding reinfection, even for people who recovered from COVID-19 previously. While vaccines reduce severity of acute Covid, they do not prevent large numbers of people developing Long Covid and suffering its devastating effects. The only way to prevent Long Covid is to avoid catching Covid.” 

Margaret O’Hara, Founding Trustee, Long Covid Support 


“These findings further highlight the importance of taking preventive steps to mitigate against airborne virus transmission, such as improving indoor ventilation in schools to prevent the burden of Long Covid increasing in children.”

Sammie McFarland, CEO & Founder, Long Covid Kids  


“Living in times of ‘let’s move on now and just learn to live with it’, this survey offers a reminder that BA.5 is highly infectious, still at a high caseload, and any sense of ‘we’ve all had it anyway so there’s nothing to lose’ is misplaced. BA.5 infection or reinfection accounts for several hundred thousand cases of new Long Covid or exacerbated Long Covid, wrecking lives.”

Prof Daniel M Altmann, Professor of Immunology, Department of Immunology and Inflammation, Imperial College, Faculty of Medicine and Trustee of Long Covid Support


Key stats:

Of those who still had Long Covid at the time of reinfection:

  • 80% had a worsening of symptom severity 
  • 10% had an improvement in symptom severity
  • 85% had either a return of old symptoms or new additional symptoms 
  • 10% had a resolution or improvement in symptoms

Of those who had been in remission or recovered at the time of reinfection:

  • 60% had a recurrence of Long Covid 
  • Of these, 28% reported that it was more severe, and 40% that it was about the same as before. 

Most respondents reported two infections (85%), 13% reported three infections and 2% reported more than three. 

89% of respondents contracted Long Covid after their first infection, 10% after their second infection and 1% after their third. 

We highlight this finding as there may be common belief that fully recovering from an initial COVID-19 infection indicates that an individual is no longer at risk of Long Covid after a subsequent infection. Our data shows that this assumption is wrong and further research is required.



Long Covid Support and Long Covid Kids have collaborated to produce the first known survey of the effect of reinfection on existing symptoms of Long Covid. Responses were obtained over a period of 11 weeks in April to June 2022. Key respondent details were: 

  • total respondents 596, including 112 children
  • from 32 countries, 63% from the UK
  • 82% of adults and 57% of children were female
  • 94% had not been admitted to hospital (in their first infection)
  • 65% had had at least one vaccination before their second infection

The survey was designed and tested by members of Long Covid Support and Long Covid Kids using Survey Monkey and was promoted in the wider international online community of people with Long Covid. It aggregated the experiences of people with Long Covid to inform the community and healthcare professionals of what to expect when people with a history of Long Covid are infected with SARS-CoV2 more than once. 

To find out more about Long Covid Kids visit their website: https://www.longcovidkids.org/ 

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