Give blood now and earn a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl LVI Those recovered from COVID-19 needed to tackle convalescent plasma shortage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 5, 2021 – The American 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. Right now, more donors are needed to help hospital patients.
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.**
Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood today with the American Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.
“While winter is historically a challenging time to collect blood due to the holidays and inclement weather, this year, COVID-19 has added a new challenge,” said Dr. Pampee Young, Chief Medical Officer of the Red Cross. “Last month, the Red Cross distributed the greatest number of convalescent plasma products than any other month during the pandemic. With hospital distributions for this product increasing about 250 percent since October, it is vital that those who have recovered from COVID-19 donate blood or plasma so that we can continue to treat those critically ill with the virus.”
As COVID-19 cases have risen across the U.S., so has the need for convalescent plasma – leading to a shortage of this potentially lifesaving blood product. Like “special teams” units on the field, COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to make a game-changing difference in the lives of COVID-19 patients. Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 may have antibodies in their plasma that could provide a patient’s immune system the boost it needs to beat the virus.
There are two ways COVID-19 survivors can help – through a convalescent plasma donation or by simply giving whole blood. Plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may be used to help COVID-19 patients. Health emergencies don’t pause for holidays, game days or a pandemic – blood is needed every two seconds in the U.S. to help patients battling injury and illness.
Who does convalescent plasma help?
Zachary Alsobrooks tested positive for coronavirus and experienced firsthand how convalescent plasma can help save lives. After a persistent 102-degree temperature and drastic changes in his breathing, he was admitted to the hospital where his condition escalated quickly to the intensive care unit.
“It progressed into the worst I have ever felt in my life,” he said. When Zachary’s vitals became unstable, he was placed on a respiratory machine and convalescent plasma was ordered to assist him. Though much of his hospital stay was a blur to him, Zachary recalls the joy that he saw from the nurses when the convalescent plasma was delivered by the Red Cross courier.
After receiving the convalescent plasma, Zachary’s condition immediately began to improve, and he was released from intensive care 72 hours later. Now he is committed to giving his own plasma to help others battling the virus as soon as he is able.
“If I can make someone else feel like I did, I will come back at least once a week to give until my antibodies test negative,” he said.
Blood donation safety precautions
To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.
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 coverings 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 covering or mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
About blood donation
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
* Terms and conditions apply. Additional information and details are available at https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage/events/super_bowl.html
** Terms and conditions apply. Additional information and details are available at https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage/events/super_bowl.html