Blood donation during Covid-19 pandemic: What you need to know

Blood donation is safe during Covid-19 pandemic, albeit with preventive measures. Know the do's and don'ts from an expert.
Covid 19 and dementia
Is blood donation safe during Covid-19 times? Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Balakrishna Published: 14 Jun 2022, 07:23 pm IST
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In 2022, the World Blood Donor Day slogan is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives” and it focuses on blood donation to save the lives of countless people who need blood units due to a variety of medical issues. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every country needs 1 percent of its population in blood units. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while the requirement of blood units has increased for the functioning of the healthcare system, it is not being met and people are wary of going to hospitals or blood camps for fear of contracting Covid-19.

Clearly, the pandemic had made things more difficult. Despite all of it, to say the least, it is vital that people donate blood and it’s possible with numerous precautions in place to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.

world blood donor day
People with certain medical conditions may need blood. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also, read: Why blood donation matters? An expert shares facts

Who all can donate blood during the pandemic?

The following are the blood or blood components donation eligibility for people who have received their Covid-19 vaccination:

  1. Anyone who has received a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, or another non-infectious vaccine (nonreplicating, inactivated) can donate immediately.
  2. Donor deferral would most likely be 14 days, if a live attenuated Covid-19 vaccine was created. There are no live attenuated Covid-19 vaccinations available anywhere in the world so far.

Blood donation do’s and don’ts for people infected with Covid-19

Depending on blood collection facility regulations and demand for Covid-19 convalescent plasma, those who have recovered from Covid-19 are eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

Active or prior Covid-19: There have not been cases of transfusion-transmitted infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 infection. So, testing donated blood for the virus is not recommended, as respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by transfusion.

Meanwhile, a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 (antibody, antigen, or nucleic acid) or a history of Covid-19 are not regarded as exclusions from blood donation if one of the following conditions is met:

  1. If an individual is symptomatic and their sickness has been resolved for more than 10 days prior to blood donation, they are eligible to donate (reduced from 14 days in earlier guidance).
  2. A positive test for the virus (antigen, nucleic acid) was more than 10 days prior to blood donation, if a person is asymptomatic now.

For individuals with possible Covid-19 without confirmatory testing, the FDA suggests that individuals should refrain from donating blood for 10 days in case of the following:

  1. If a person exhibits any symptoms that might be caused by Covid-19, the problem must be addressed and resolved before blood donation
  2. A recent probable close-contact encounter with a person infected with Covid-19 has happened.
  3. Individuals who are currently ill with any symptoms, such as fever or other active signs of infection, are not eligible to donate.
blood donation
World Blood Donor is observed on June 14 every year. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

There is no formal rule stating that you must have a Covid-19 negative RT-PCR test report to give blood, although following ruled must be followed:

  1. Temperature check of the donor, as well as all other normal diagnostic procedures.
  2. Adherence to Covid-19 protocol such as masking and sanitizing.
  3. It is recommended to check with the hospital or donation centre ahead of time to see whether a Covid-19 negative test report is required.

Amidst the ongoing pandemic, it is important to emphasize that donating blood does not put a person at risk of getting Covid-19 as long as the do’s and don’ts are followed. The blood donation procedure is carried out with all required precautions for the donor’s safety in mind.

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About the Author

Dr Balakrishna, Senior Consultant and HOD, Internal Medicine, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital ...Read More

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