The healthcare industry is currently in a major crisis. More than ever, hospitals and researchers desperately need eligible participants to donate blood amid the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The uncertainty and confusion surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have undoubtedly exacerbated this already critical issue.
At the onset of the pandemic, there was no clear answer on when the end date would be, and that broad uncertainty remains today. While waiting for things to go back to normal, experts thought it best to pause most non-emergency surgical treatments and research as they might detract from resources needed immediately.
At the same time, some of the world’s leading medical researchers have turned their attention to COVID-19 and its emerging variants. An unprecedented global effort has produced phenomenal strides in treating this novel virus that has so profoundly disrupted the globe.
Vaccines have been developed in record time, and new treatments have been either adapted from existing applications or developed anew. Scientists are learning more every day about how COVID-19 affects the body long-term, and how patients with preexisting conditions can cope with its dangers.
Blood donation is decreasing tremendously between the sick population, people becoming increasingly wary of hospitals and doctors, and unclear answers on the protocol. Now that the world is slowly adjusting to a new reality, the public has an urgent need to donate blood for the numerous rescheduled surgeries, new incidents, and the ever-increasing need for blood for research.
What the public may not know is that donor blood is an essential ingredient in many elements of advanced medical research. Without adequate supplies, the scientific community will face even bigger barriers in overcoming the challenges COVID-19 poses to the world.
Understanding Blood Donation During COVID-19
The primary obstacle that stands in the way of the average citizen donating blood is a lack of information. They may have many questions. Are those who have had the COVID-19 vaccine eligible to donate blood? What about unvaccinated people? What about someone who contracted COVID-19 and recovered?
To motivate people to donate blood and help advance medical research, they must understand the guidelines.
If you had the COVID-19 vaccine, you are allowed to donate blood. The federal government approved the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Therefore, as long as you aren’t experiencing symptoms or side effects, you can donate blood without deferral after taking an official vaccine.
The same is true if you haven’t had the vaccine yet — you can still donate blood if you wish to do so.
Some people choose to participate in experimental trials and studies relating to the vaccine. Unlike those who opted for the vaccines after approval, clinical trial participants have to wait for a set number of days before donating blood. In order to find out more, research must be done to understand how the SARs-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) and its variants are affecting our bodies.
For those who have already been affected by COVID, it’s important to keep in mind the waiting period before you attempt to donate blood. If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID, you must wait at least 14 days to donate blood safely.
Donate blood today to assist with the research surrounding our pandemic, preexisting conditions, and other illnesses.
Staying Safe While Donating Blood
Blood donation is a safe and secure process, even during chaotic times. It is a hard requirement; donors must be healthy and without signs of any type of illness on the day of donation. This way, a healthy person enduring exposure to someone suffering from COVID or any other sickness is extremely low.
Donating blood is a seamless and stress-free experience when you follow the safety protocols. High-quality masks, temperature checks, and in-depth questionnaires all work together to ensure the safety of all donors and staff members.
It would set many people’s minds at ease to know that staff members have to test as thoroughly and frequently as donors. Keeping the community healthy and able to help others is our mission, and the last thing we want is more people becoming sick.
Blood Donation Policy
Depending on where you donate blood, the procedure and guidelines will instruct you to best prepare for blood donation.
Before you arrive at your donation center, call and get more information on precisely what is allowed and not allowed at that specific location. With the extreme shortage of blood donations, you want to make sure that you’re able to donate and not waste any time.
Though it is possible at some blood donation centers, most do not test for COVID in the same location.
If you have been knowingly exposed to COVID or are experiencing symptoms related to the virus, then try to come into contact with as few people as possible. Take a COVID test and be entirely sure of the results before you attempt to donate blood.
It is safest for everyone involved if people who want to donate blood get a COVID test before donation. Making sure everyone is as safe as possible is always the number one priority, even while doing the critical work of rebuilding the blood donation supply.
Invest in the Future of Your Community
By donating blood and supporting others who do so, you are helping your community heal from this earth-shattering pandemic. If you have any questions about blood donation and the role COVID plays in it, reach out to HemaCare today!