As the U.S. sees an average of more than 214,000 new cases of coronavirus each day, the urgent need for convalescent plasma to help patients battling the virus is also increasing. Presently there is a national shortage of this potentially lifesaving blood product. More donors are needed to give as soon as possible to end the shortage and help those currently battling this virus.
The American Red Cross urges eligible COVID-19 survivors to sign up to give now to help current COVID-19 patients. With hospital distributions for convalescent plasma increasing about 250% since October, it is critical that those who have recovered from COVID-19 donate blood or plasma now to help patients in need.
HOW YOU CAN HELP There are two ways COVID-19 survivors can help – through a convalescent plasma donation or by simply giving blood. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients. The Red Cross is collecting convalescent plasma at more than 170 locations across the country.
The Red Cross is also antibody testing all blood donations collected at blood drives– making every blood or convalescent plasma donation an opportunity to help COVID-19 patients. Currently, whole blood donors with COVID-19 antibodies are helping to contribute more than 800 units of convalescent plasma each week to help meet patient needs.
Eligible convalescent plasma donors can give with the Red Cross every seven days for up to three months. To be eligible to give convalescent plasma an individual must be:
- In good health and generally feel well.
- Have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom-free and fully recovered from COVID-19 and at least 14 days from last date of symptoms.
In order to donate convalescent plasma, individuals must meet all regular blood donation requirements plus some additional criteria. Additionally, the Red Cross asks individuals who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and want to help first complete the Donor Request form on our website. If they are eligible to give, a Red Cross representative will contact them to schedule a donation appointment at a Red Cross or another blood collection organization facility near them.
DIDN’T HAVE COVID-19 BUT STILL WANT TO HELP?
Due to the pandemic thousands of Red Cross blood drives have been canceled as community organizations and businesses restrict access to many locations. The Red Cross and the National Football League (NFL) are teaming up this January, National Blood Donor Month, to urge individuals – especially those who have recovered from COVID-19 – to give blood and to help tackle the national convalescent plasma shortage.
During this critical time, the Red Cross and NFL are thrilled to offer all those who come to donate an opportunity to receive a special thank you this month. Those who come to donate blood or platelets this January will be automatically entered to win two tickets to next year’s Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. In addition, those who come to give January 1-20, will also be automatically entered to win the “Big Game at Home” package for an awesome viewing experience safely at home, with a 65-inch television and a $500 gift card to put toward food and fun. See full details here.
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.