OBI Worries Complicated Guidelines Could Drop Blood Donation Numbers

Monday, January 4th 2021, 9:42 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

As more people get vaccinated, the Oklahoma Blood Institute is worried complicated guidelines could cause a drop in donations.

The guidelines determine who can donate blood after receiving certain vaccines or treatments. You can still donate blood and regular plasma if you’ve been treated for COVID-19 or if you’ve had a vaccine, there are just a few things to consider before you donate.

Jan Laub, the executive director of the Oklahoma Blood Institute in Tulsa breaks it down in three groups.

First is vaccines that are currently available like Pfizer and Moderna, second is other vaccines still in trials, and the third category is monoclonal antibody treatments.

"The biggest impact that the vaccine has as of today is that once you get vaccinated, you won't be able to donate convalescent plasma, but we definitely still need you to donate whole blood," Laub said.

With vaccinations like Pfizer and Moderna, there's no deferral period. You can donate all other blood products - including regular plasma - which CSL Plasma's Senior Medical Director Dr. Toby Simon said is still needed.

"We really do need the plasma because these hundreds of thousands of patients who depend on this product need it every day, every month of the year," Simon said.

Other vaccines like Oxford-AstraZeneca's, which is still in development, also will also prevent you from donating convalescent plasma but everything else is still okay to donate after a two-week deferral.

"Definitely we need more, and we do want to get the message out there because these therapies are in tremendous demand," Dr. Simon said.

Laub said monoclonal antibody treatments like Regeneron or Eli Lilly prevent donations for 12 months. The FDA is still discussing rules on donating convalescent plasma after vaccinations, which means at some point the guidance could change.

Convalescent plasma comes from persons who have had and recovered the virus but have not been vaccinated or received monoclonal antibodies as treatment. It is also used as a treatment option for COVID-19.

OBI said that form of plasma is in very high demand, and strongly encourages anyone who has recovered from the coronavirus and meets the criteria to donate if they are still waiting on their vaccine.

Visit the OBI site here to find out more.