WASHINGTON — QUESTION: Is it safe to donate blood during the pandemic?
ANSWER: Yes. Blood centers are taking extra precautions to help keep donors and phlebotomists safe.
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through blood transfusions.
- Lisa Futterman – American Red Cross interim director of communications for the National Capital Region
- Terri Craddock – senior director at Inova Blood Donor Services
- U.S. Surgeon General's Office
- Food & Drug Administration
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As the coronavirus spreads and social distancing becomes common practice, the American Red Cross says it has seen thousands of blood drive cancellations – resulting in hundreds of thousands of anticipated donations not being made. That's putting even more of a strain on an already short supply.
So we’re Verifying: Is it safe to donate blood during the pandemic?
Our Verify researchers turned to experts at the American Red Cross, Inova Blood Donor Services, the U.S. Surgeon General's Office and the Food and Drug Administration.
The all say not to cancel your appointment.
“It is definitely safe to donate,” Terri Craddock, senior director of Inova Blood Services in Virginia, said. “Just as we’re taking care of our COVID-19 patients, there’s still all those other patients, our cancer patients, our cardiac patients, who rely on blood products. That hasn’t gone away.”
Inova and the Red Cross are taking extra precautions. Beds are placed 6 feet apart and wiped down between every donor. Chairs in the waiting room are spaced out and they have extra hand sanitizer on hand.
The Red Cross is also checking temperatures for employees and donors before they enter the donation site.
Both the US Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration has come out in full force, encouraging anyone who’s healthy to give blood.
"Donating blood is safe and takes only a little of your time," the FDA wrote in a coronavirus blood donation update. "We fully support President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, which includes recommendations to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. We also recognize that maintaining adequate levels of our nation’s blood supply is critical."
So we can Verify, yes, blood banks and health officials are giving the green light to donate blood during this pandemic.