The Red Cross, like all blood collectors in the U.S., is required to follow the eligibility guidelines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including guidance regarding blood donor eligibility related to those who receive a COVID-19 vaccine. You can donate after COVID-19 vaccination. Please come prepared to share the manufacturer name of the vaccine you received.
To help clarify donation eligibility questions and address inaccurate information related to blood donation and COVID-19 vaccines, here are some answers to common questions.
Q: Are individuals who received a COVID-19 vaccine eligible to give blood, platelets and plasma?
A: Yes, you can donate blood after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, as long as you are symptom-free and feeling well at the time of the donation. Please come prepared to share the manufacturer name of the vaccine you received. If you do not know the name of the vaccine manufacturer, we request you wait two weeks to donate after vaccination, out of precaution.
Q: Are individuals who received a COVID-19 vaccine eligible to give COVID-19 convalescent plasma?
A: The FDA allows people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to donate dedicated COVID-19 convalescent plasma within six months of their infection of the virus, based on data that antibodies from natural infection can decline after six months however, the Red Cross has discontinued our convalescent plasma collection program.
Throughout the pandemic, the Red Cross has adapted its collection of lifesaving products to meet the needs of all patients including COVID-19 patients. Due to the decline in hospital demand and because the Red Cross and our industry partners have been able to build a sufficient supply of convalescent plasma to meet the foreseeable needs of COVID-19 patients the Red Cross stopped collecting convalescent plasma completely on June 14.
The Red Cross is grateful to the tens of thousands of convalescent plasma donors who rolled up their sleeves to share their health and provide hope to patients and their families during an uncertain time.
Q: What is the different between COVID-19 antibodies that you develop from exposure to the virus and antibodies you develop as a reaction to the vaccine?
A: Antibodies that an individual produces when they’ve been exposed to the virus are slightly different from the antibodies that an individual produces when they’ve been vaccinated. When an individual has been infected with a virus, they produce antibodies to multiple regions of a virus, including the nucleocapsid protein. An individual who has received a COVID-19 vaccine will produce antibodies to the spike protein of the virus, but not the nucleocapsid protein, which will only occur in the event of a COVID-19 infection.
Q: I’ve heard claims that the Red Cross refuses to accept convalescent plasma from individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine because it wipes out the antibodies. Is this true?
A: There are claims circulating that incorrectly state that the Red Cross will not accept convalescent plasma donations from those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine because “the vaccine wipes out those antibodies making the convalescent plasma ineffective in treating other COVID-19 patients.” This is not accurate.
Due to the decline in hospital demand and because the Red Cross and our industry partners have been able to build a sufficient supply of convalescent plasma to meet the foreseeable needs of COVID-19 patients the Red Cross stopped collecting convalescent plasma completely on June 14.
Q: Does giving blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine reduce a donor’s protection from the virus?
A: Donating blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine does not reduce a donor’s protection from the virus. Similar to other vaccines such as measles, mumps or influenza, the COVID-19 vaccine is designed to generate an immune response to help protect an individual from illness. A donor’s immune response is not impacted by giving blood.
Q: What is the difference between plasma donation and convalescent plasma donation?
A: Plasma donation and COVID-19 convalescent plasma donation are different. Plasma has been collected and transfused since the 1940’s to help patients being treated for a number of medical reasons, including burns, shock, trauma and other injuries and illnesses.
Convalescent plasma is plasma that contains high-levels of specific antibodies that might help fight a specific infection—in this case COVID-19 antibodies. Historically, convalescent plasma has been used as a potentially lifesaving treatment in some situations when new diseases or infections develop quickly, and no treatments or vaccines were available yet. Recent scientific evidence has shown that COVID-19 convalescent plasma with high-levels of antibodies, that is administered to hospitalized patients early in the disease course, can have some clinical benefit.
Learn more about COVID-19 and blood donation.
The Red Cross urges eligible individuals who are feeling well to please make an appointment today to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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