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June 23, 2021
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Does COVID-19 vaccination impact blood donation eligibility?

May 7, 2021

This spring as COVID-19 vaccines become more available and people resume some of their favorite activities, the American Red Cross is reminding the public that the need for blood remains. Healthy individuals are encouraged to make a blood donation appointment now. But what about those who’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine – can they donate?

As long as donors are symptom-free, feeling well and can provide the vaccine manufacturer’s name, there’s no waiting period required after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized in the U.S. Additional blood donation eligibility information is available at RedCrossBlood.org/Eligibility.

 Three reasons not to wait to donate:

• Donors, especially those with type O blood, are needed in May to help ensure blood products are available for patients now and into summer.

• Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in May will be automatically entered for a chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps five, powered by Suburban Propane. 

• Plus, those who make it in to give May 1-15 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. 

 Schedule an appointment now to give blood and make it a summer full of life for patients. Appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

 Health insights for donors

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Testing may also identify the presence of antibodies developed after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Plasma from routine blood and platelet donations that test positive for high levels of antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma to meet potential future needs of COVID-19 patients. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood product collected from COVID-19 survivors who have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus. 

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is also screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.   

Donors can expect to receive antibody test and sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. 

 Blood drive safety

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face masks for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.