Donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic: Save lives and be safe
The need for blood transfusions and medications based on blood components continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic and blood collection services are worried about potential blood shortages in the future.
Blood and plasma donation remains absolutely vital, and travel and venue restrictions do not prevent people from giving blood. There are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world and strict additional safety measures have been installed at the blood collection sites for donors and staff.
Stationary donation centres are open and where mobile collection services had to be reduced due to closure or unsuitability of their common sites like busses, stores or schools, alternative sites have been setup for example in currently unused exhibition centres which offer more spacious environments to ensure social distancing.
Blood collection services like UK´s NHSBT or national Red Cross institutions have published detailed information about how they maintain their processes for registered and new donors. They encourage healthy volunteers to keep their appointments and to make new donation appointments for the weeks ahead to ensure continued supply of blood products.
General information for blood donors:
Registered donors are encouraged to keep their appointments (or cancel them if needed to allow replacement) and make new appointments some months ahead
- First time donors should register through their blood donation services and be patient about the assignment of an appointment. Operational processes may be slowed down a bit due to the impact of coronavirus and registered donors are prioritised. Giving blood is a contribution for life!
- Travelling to donate is permitted because it helps meet the medical needs of vulnerable people. Hospitals need blood supplies now and in the coming weeks more than ever.
- Please do not donate if you feel unwell. Additional questions may be asked to make sure that only donors who don’t have coronavirus risk factors enter the donation area. Fever testing may be performed depending on local guidance.
- If you think you had coronavirus you should confirm your situation before coming to donate.
- Please only go to the session at the time of your appointment to help maintain social distancing.
- If you are a regular donor you may find changes such as increased space between the chairs, additional cleaning of surfaces, staff washing their hands more often and using alcohol based hand disinfection and wearing masks to reassure donors (though not essential for the blood donation process in general).
- There might be changes in the provision of hot drinks or snacks in the waiting area but sufficient time to recover and fluid uptake will always be ensured.
- There might be additional precautions for elderly donors or those carrying risk factors.
Please stay in touch with your blood donation service for detailed and up-to-date information as local guidelines and settings will vary. And most important, stay healthy!