Amid pandemic, Red Cross sees increased need for blood donations

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Winter is a difficult time to collect enough blood and platelet donations to meet patient needs, according to the Red Cross.

And as the coronavirus pandemic continues into this year, the need is even greater.

The Red Cross is calling on people to donate blood amid the shortage during the coronavirus pandemic.

So, you might be asking yourself, am I eligible to donate blood?

Who is eligible?

For “whole blood” donations: (“Whole blood” is simply the blood that flows through your veins. It contains red cells, white cells, and platelets, suspended in plasma.)

  • Donation frequency: Every 56 days* 
  • You must be in good health and feeling well**
  • You must be at least 16 years old in most states
  • You must weigh at least 110 lbs

There are three other types of donations, which you can read more about here and find out if you’re eligible to donate.

FIND OUT MORE HERE:

Right now, the American Red Cross has an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma, a potentially lifesaving treatment for patients with COVID-19.

The Red Cross has seen demand for convalescent plasma increase 250% since October, as the number of coronavirus cases increases across the U.S. Convalescent plasma products are now being distributed faster than donations are coming in.

Can I donate if I have tested positive for COVID-19?

Individuals who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to sign up to give convalescent plasma now by completing the donor eligibility form at RedCrossBlood.org/plasma4covid.

Convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from an infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection – in this case, those who have fully recovered from COVID-19. With each donation, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to help up to three patients recover from the virus.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the country have stepped up to help by giving blood or platelets with the Red Cross. Blood donations from healthy individuals are just as essential now to meet patient needs, and those who gave this spring may be eligible to help again.

I’m worried about donating because I just got the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Red Cross is following FDA blood donation eligibility guidance for those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination, and deferral times may vary depending on the type of vaccine an individual receives. 

But there’s no deferral time if you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

How can I make an appointment to donate blood?

Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free 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. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and blood donation, visit redcrossblood.org/give

You can find the Red Cross Blood Donor app below:

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