When temperatures drop, many regular activities come to a halt, but the American Red Cross needs your help to stop winter weather from giving hospital patients the cold shoulder. Those who are eligible to donate are urged to cozy up to giving blood, platelets or plasma to help hospital patients this February and throughout the pandemic.
As the Red Cross works to provide lifesaving blood products to hospitals for patients every day of the year, weather adds additional complications during this ongoing pandemic. Over recent weeks, blood drives from coast-to-coast have been canceled due to severe winter weather.
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.
Important COVID-19 information for donors
- Vaccines: As of February 1, 2021, there is no wait period to donate after receiving COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by AstraZeneca, Janssen/J&J, Moderna, Novavax or Pfizer, as long as individuals are feeling healthy and well. Individuals who receive a COVID-19 vaccine and do not know which manufacturer it was from will need to wait two weeks to donate. Individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are not able to donate convalescent plasma with the Red Cross at this time.
- Convalescent Plasma: 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. 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.
- Antibody Testing: The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether an individual developed COVID-19 symptoms. Red Cross antibody tests will be helpful to identify individuals who have COVID-19 antibodies and may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.
- Blood Drive Safety: 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.