FAQ: Coronavirus and Blood Donation
RIBC is closely monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and continues to carry out our lifesaving mission in our communities. You may view our full list of COVID-19 safety protocols for our centers and mobile drives here.
To ensure we are prepared to support health agencies in our communities and across the country, RIBC strongly urges individuals who feel healthy and well to make an appointment at a donor center to give blood and platelets. Appointments are encouraged as they help us manage the flow of donors to ensure proper distancing and maintain a steady blood supply for patients.
Up-to-date info on donation after COVID-19 vaccine. In most cases, there is no deferral period for blood donation after receiving a vaccine that has been issued Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) by the FDA.
If you have questions regarding COVID 19 travel restrictions, please contact RIBC medical services at email@example.com or call 401-453-8307.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I donate after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you received an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna, or an adenovirus vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s, you may donate blood or platelets immediately after vaccination as long as you are feeling well and all other donor criteria are met.
- Are face masks being worn by donors and donor center staff?
Face masks are optional for donors and staff.
- How does RIBC determine if people are eligible to donate blood?
We ask if you are feeling well and healthy on the day of donation. Our health questionnaire and laboratory screening are designed to identify donors who may be at risk for transfusion transmitted infections.
- Can I donate blood if I’ve traveled recently?
If you have questions regarding COVID 19 travel restrictions, please contact RIBC medical services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401.453.8307.
- What measures are being taken to make sure donor centers are virus-free?
We ask blood donors and our own staff to stay home if they are not feeling well. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations.
- What is RIBC doing in response to Coronavirus?
We are actively monitoring the situation along with our local partners and will follow the most up to date guidance from the CDC and City and State Departments of Health as the situation evolves. We take the health of our donors and staff very seriously and always follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of infection.
- Can I catch Coronavirus by donating blood?
No. Donating blood is safe. We always use new, sterile needles that are discarded after use.
- What about social distancing? How can we donate at a center if we are supposed to stay home?
Giving blood or platelets at a donor center or blood drive is not considered a public or social gathering. Blood donation is an essential part of patient care and emergency preparedness. Our donor spaces are a controlled environment, filled with staff members who are trained to help prevent the risk of spreading infectious agents. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations.
- Do you test blood before it goes to recipients?
All donated blood, even donations from repeat donors, is tested for blood type, hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, and other transfusion transmissible diseases.
We do NOT test for COVID-19. Please contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.
- Can you catch Coronavirus from a blood transfusion?
There is no evidence that coronaviruses are transmitted by blood transfusion. Furthermore, pre-donation screening procedures are designed to prevent donations from people who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illnesses.
- Why is it important to donate now?
It’s important for everyone to donate today so that we can build up a strong blood supply. Blood is a critical component of patient care and emergency preparedness because it’s perishable and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf now is the blood that will save lives if there’s an emergency.
- Will we run out of blood?
If future blood drives are canceled, our community’s blood supply will drop. We need to build up our reserves now so that we have enough blood available to withstand any temporary shortages and help those in need.
- What can I do to protect myself from Coronavirus?
Standard practices for cold and flu season are the best way to keep our community healthy. This includes staying home when you’re sick, frequently washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with your elbow, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or face after touching public surfaces. Visit this link for videos and reminders on proper hand hygiene.
- Can I donate blood while I’m sick?
No, as always, you are not eligible to donate if you’re experiencing a fever, cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.
- Can I catch the virus from another donor at a donor center or blood drive?
First, we ask blood donors and our own staff to stay home if they are not feeling well. Our staff are trained in universal precautions to help prevent the risk of spreading infectious agents. We are also regularly cleaning public surfaces. Second, we encourage healthy individuals to donate so that blood is available for those patients who need it. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations. We screen our donors for infectious disease risks and let donors know in advance that they should not come to the blood collection site to donate if they have a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing), have been told to self-quarantine due to exposure risk, including travel, or been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 until 14 days after the illness has resolved.
- Can I bring my child, friend or family with me when I donate?
Normally, we welcome donors to bring a family member or friend even if they are not donating. Right now, we are asking that only donors come into the centers as we are trying to manage the space between donors.
- Will giving blood weaken my immune system?
There is no evidence blood donation weakens the immune system. Blood donation is needed to keep the supply available to patients who need it. To best prepare for your donation get sleep, eat a good meal, and drink fluids. Visit https://www.ribc.org/prep for more information on preparing for your blood donation.