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  • Writer's pictureNEIA Red Cross

Does COVID-19 vaccination impact blood donation eligibility?

This spring as COVID-19 vaccines become more available and people resume some of their favorite activities, we have a reminder-- 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.

As the country adjusts to a new phase of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, patients across the nation continue to rely on essential blood donations. However, blood centers nationwide have reported declines in blood collections in recent weeks. Some have reported their lowest donor turnout in more than a year. These trends are concerning, as both patients and blood centers depend on the altruism of donors to ensure that blood is available for lifesaving treatments.

Earlier this month, AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross joined together to urge eligible, healthy individuals to make and keep donation appointments now and throughout the summer, which is historically a hard time of year to keep blood on shelves.

Three reasons not to wait to donate:

  • Donors, especially those with type O blood, are needed 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 Gift Card by email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

Appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

Don’t forget, the Red Cross continues to test 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.

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.

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.

Schedule an appointment now to give blood and make it a summer full of life for patients.

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