Coronavirus vaccine could impact when and who can donate blood, plasma


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With so many cases of COVID-19, hospitals are in desperate need of plasma from people who have previously tested positive for COVID-19.

The antibodies from people who have recovered from COVID-19 could help patients currently battling the virus, but the vaccine is creating new concerns about who can and can’t donate.

Luckily for the Tennessee American Red Cross, the pandemic has not stopped people from donating.

“There’s not really much you can do right now, and this is something that I can do,” said Chrissy Lacke who donated plasma for the first time.

Lacke is just one of nearly half a million Tennesseans who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 donating convalescent plasma.

“I think if it were one of my family members that were fighting for their lives in the hospital that somebody else would take the time to do this,” explained Lacke.

However, because of the new COVID-19 vaccine, not all plasma is safe.

In a report done by the American Association of Blood Banks, or the AABB, the FDA says people who get the vaccine can still donate blood, but not convalescent plasma, stating it’s because of the “uncertainty regarding the quality of the immune response produced by such investigational vaccine.”

“You can even donate plasma, but it will not be convalescent plasma, it will not be used for COVID-19 patients,” said Sherri McKinney with the American Red Cross.

McKinney explained if you receive the Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine, there is no wait time to give blood. For those who get the vaccines produced by AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson, there will be a two week waiting period.

“If you have taken the Moderna vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine, you can still donate blood product immediately in fact,” explained McKinney.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, once you have recovered and are no longer experiencing symptoms, the Red Cross encourages you to donate your convalescent plasma, or how McKinney describes it as “liquid gold.”

The American Red Cross tests every donation for COVID-19 antibodies, whether you have been previously tested or not.

If you don’t know which vaccine you received, or have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and donating blood or plasma, you can log onto the Red Cross website or download the mobile app to find out your test results and schedule a time to donate.

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