January is National Blood Donor Month, a time to celebrate the lifesaving impact of blood and platelet donors. It has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years and coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients and this year is no exception. With Coronavirus cases on the rise, there’s an opportunity to help by donating blood, as usual, but also in donating Convalescent Plasma if you’ve had the COVID-19 virus.
If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. Right now, donors are critically needed as COVID-19 cases rise. Individuals who have contracted and fought COVID-19 now carry the antibodies. By donating your plasma, you can hep others fight the disease… and save lives!
Convalescent refers to anyone recovering from a disease. Plasma is the yellow, liquid part of blood that contains antibodies. Antibodies are proteins made by the body in response to infections. Convalescent plasma from patients who have already recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may contain antibodies against COVID-19. Giving this convalescent plasma to hospitalized people currently fighting COVID-19 may help them recover. FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to be used in hospitalized COVID-19 patients and is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19. Based on scientific evidence available, the FDA concluded this product may be effective in treating COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. (Source: FDA.gov)
What are the requirements for donating plasma for the treatment of COVID-19?
If you have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least fourteen days, you are encouraged to donate blood. Plasma can be donated by any recovered individual who meets donor qualifications.
- At least 17 years old
- Weigh at least 110lbs
- Must be in good health and meet regular blood donations requirements. (see if you are eligible) https://www.redcrossblood.org/faq.html#eligibility
- Have a prior diagnosis of COVID-19
- Be symptom free
Donate Blood and Plasma to Make a Difference
How often can convalescent plasma donors give?
Eligible individuals can donate their COVID-19 plasma with the Red Cross as often as every seven days for up to three months – donating a maximum of eight times. Prior convalescent plasma donations made within the standard donation interval period of 28 days, do not count toward the eight donations or three-month totals. After three months or eight donations – whichever comes first – the donor will have to wait for six months before they an donate plasma or blood. The Red Cross urges all convalescent plasma donors to take advantage of this new opportunity – frequent convalescent plasma donations will help meet the growing need — and save lives!
Resources for Donating Plasma
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about convalescent plasma
- Sign Up To Give COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma
Contact a local donation center to donate blood or plasma.
- AABB: http://www.aabb.org 1-301-907-6977
- America’s Blood Centers: https://americasblood.org
- American Red Cross: https://www.redcrossblood.org 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
- Armed Services Blood Program: https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil 1-703-681-8024
- Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association: http://www.donatingplasma.org
Other Ways to Help
- Host a blood drive in your community (Red Cross)
- Become a volunteer in support of the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Initiative
- Make a donation to the Red Cross or other Plasma donation service in your community