With respiratory illnesses already spreading as temperatures cool, the American Red Cross is sharing this important reminder — it’s okay to give blood after getting a flu shot or a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.
Receiving a flu shot or a COVID-19 vaccine or booster is a great way to protect your own health. It causes no wait period and does not affect blood donation eligibility, as long as you are healthy, feeling well and symptom free at the time of donation.
While the need for blood and platelet donations is constant, a severe cold and flu season can result in fewer donations if many become sick and need to postpone a blood donation until they are well. According to health officials, both influenza and COVID-19 cases are expected to surge simultaneously this winter. They warn 100 million Americans – equivalent to nearly a third of the country’s population – could get COVID-19 infections in the coming fall and winter. That number could be even higher if a new variant enters the scene. With an increase in flu cases already being seen in some communities, more healthy individuals will be needed to roll up a sleeve to donate.
“It’s particularly important during the fall and winter months, when we see an increase in cold and flu cases, that those who are in good health share their good health by giving blood,” said Dr. Baia Lasky for the American Red Cross.
For those that have the flu or COVID-19, it is important to wait until they no longer exhibit symptoms, have recovered completely and feel well before attempting to donate.
The Red Cross urges blood donors of all types and those who have never given before to book a time to give blood or platelets now and help keep the blood supply strong for hospital patients.
The Red Cross follows a high standard of safety and infection control. While donors are no longer required to wear a mask, individuals may choose to continue to do so. Those who would like to share their good health by giving blood can find a blood drive and schedule a donation appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
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.
Find a drive and schedule a blood donation appointment today.