Millions of people around the world are showing their love this Valentine’s Day by donating blood to save a life in need. Celebrated on Feb. 14, National Donor Day helps bring awareness for people interested in donating blood or organs. However, many people are also unfamiliar with the concept of National Donor Day or may have unanswered questions regarding donating after a COVID-19 infection. If you are feeling unsure about donating due to COVID-19 or other reasons, you’re at the right place.
Can I Still Donate If I Have Had COVID-19 Before?
Yes! You are still eligible to donate blood if you have had COVID-19. In fact, it is still highly encouraged to donate if you are feeling well at the time of the donation. While many people have been hesitant to donate after having COVID-19, doctors have assured the public that there is no harm in donating after being sick with COVID-19. However, there is a minimum period donors must wait between the last day of feeling symptomatic and the day of your donation. Providers recommend waiting a full two weeks after being symptomatic to donate blood.
Additionally, those who have had COVID-19 can donate blood plasma to others struggling to fight off the infection. Blood plasma is full of antibodies, a crucial component of the immune system that helps the body recover. After recovering from COVID-19, your body is full of antibodies from the disease. With a recent experimental treatment approved by the FDA, antibodies from a recovered, healthy donor can be transferred into someone who is critically ill with COVID-19 to help improve their immune system and increase their recovery rate.
Is it Safe for Me to Donate if I Have Received a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Also yes. It is perfectly safe for you to donate blood or organs if you have received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, you are also safe to donate if you have received your COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. Although it varies by location, there is typically no deferral time for individuals who received their vaccine.
What are the Requirements for Me to Donate Blood?
- If you are looking to donate plasma to help COVID-19 victims, you may want to consider bringing a form of verification of prior COVID-19 diagnosis to the donation site. You also must not be showing any symptoms at the time of the donation.
- Must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds.
- You must feel healthy at the time of your donation and have no signs or symptoms of illness or infection.
- Must be U.S. citizen.
- Individuals who are between the ages of 45-60 must pay an additional fee of $100 due to certain risks associated with the age group.
What Kind of Donations are Encouraged on National Donor Day?
While blood donations are always encouraged to help with the national blood shortage, there are other ways you can participate in National Donor Day:
- Blood stem cells: Aside from donating blood plasma for COVID-19 victims, there are additional uses for blood stems cells from other sources in your body. These may include bone marrow, cord blood stem cells obtained after pregnancy and peripheral blood stem cells which are similar to the ones found in bone marrow.
- Organs: Many organs of the deceased are used for much needed transplants to save or improve the conditions of other’s lives. Some of the most common organ donations include kidney, liver, heart, pancreas and cornea transplants. While your organs may not be donated on this year’s National Donor Day, it’s still important to consider registering as an organ donor for future transplant needs. Just by registering, you may be able to save up to eight lives in the future!
I’m Not Eligible to Donate. How Can I Show Support on National Donor Day?
Under certain circumstances, people may not be able to donate due to a history of serious illnesses, chronic disease or feeling unwell at the time of donation. If you fall into this category, there are still many options to show your support this upcoming National Donor Day such as:
- Fundraising events: Fundraising events, such as Donor Dash, include fun activities such as 5K walks/runs and are a great way to show your support. These events honor those that have donated their organs or blood and help to build a sense of community and spark hope for those who are waiting for a transplant.
- Spread awareness on social media: Many people will be sharing their support this National Donor Day by using hashtags on twitter or posting about it on other social media platforms. This helps to increase awareness of National Donor Day and could help them decide with their own donation plans.
- Share information with friends and family: Now that you have read this blog, you have additional insight into the various ways to show support on National Donor
Day. Encourage your family members and friends to show their support this year as well by participating in events, donating at blood drives or taking the steps to become an organ donor.
If you’re thinking about becoming an organ donor, you can visit organdonor.gov for more information, or visit your local DMV to sign up. Before considering blood or organ donation, it’s important to talk with your primary care physician. Don’t have a primary care physician? UofL Health has Primary Care centers in multiple convenient locations. Visit uoflphysicians.com to find locations and providers near you.