January is National Blood Donor Month. Since 1970, this month has been a time to recognize the lifesaving contribution of blood and platelet donors and encourage people to donate. Throughout the country, there is a constant need for blood and platelet donation. Blood transfusions are used for people who have sustained traumatic injuries, during surgery, child birth, for cancer treatments and more. During this pandemic, it is essential that people continue to donate blood so that these critical needs can be met. Moreover, plasma donations from those who have recovered from COVID-19 may help others who are sick.
How People Who Have Recovered from COVID-19 Can Help
Convalescent plasma therapy uses blood from people who have recovered from an illness to help others recover. The FDA has authorized the use of convalescent plasma for individuals with COVID-19. This therapy may help lessen the severity or shorten the length of the disease by recognizing and neutralizing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may consider donating plasma, which can help up to four COVID-19 patients.
Safely Donating Blood During the Pandemic
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmissible by blood transfusion. Check with your local donation center to ask about their pandemic safety protocols. Most, like the Red Cross, have adopted additional safety measures during the pandemic, including social distancing between donors and temperature checks before entering the donation center.
Blood Donation and the COVID-19 Vaccine
Per FDA guidelines, the Red Cross does not require deferral time if you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. That means individuals do not have to wait to give blood after receiving the vaccine, providing they are feeling well. Learn more about vaccines and blood donation here.
Blood donations save lives and improve health. Because blood can only be stored for a limited time, there is a constant need for donations. Whether you are healthy or have recovered from COVID-19, consider making a blood donation today.
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