The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism issued the following statement regarding the spread of coronavirus and the U.S. blood supply:
Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the United States earlier this year, the AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism, in coordination with the country’s blood collection establishments, has been monitoring the evolving public health situation and preparing blood centers for the potential for further spread. The blood community has been working to enact measures to ensure the continued safety and availability of the U.S. blood supply. As cases in the U.S. have continued to be reported, the blood community has been increasing its preparedness appropriately.
As part of these increased efforts, the Task Force and the blood community encourage healthy, eligible individuals to donate blood to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients in need. It is imperative that healthy donors continue to donate to maintain an adequate blood supply for the patients that rely on the generosity of donors every day. If the outbreak of coronavirus continues to spread, additional challenges may arise, which could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors. Since it is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives, maintaining a sufficient blood supply is essential to ensure patients in need receive optimal treatment.
Please contact the following organizations to find a local blood collection site and to schedule an appointment to donate:
The Task Force reminds the public that:
- Individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion, since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to report that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19 to date. In addition, no cases of transfusion-transmission were ever reported for the other two coronaviruses that emerged during the past two decades (SARS, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, and MERS-CoV, which causes Mideast Respiratory Syndrome).
- Routine blood donor screening measures – which may include travel deferrals – are already in place to prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood and ensuring the safety of the blood supply.
The Task Force and the blood community will continue to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the situation evolves to further protect the safety and maintain availability of the blood supply.
About the Task Force
The AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism was formed in January 2002 to help make certain that blood collection efforts resulting from domestic disasters and acts of terrorism are managed properly and to deliver clear and consistent messages to the public regarding the status of America’s blood supply. The Task Force is composed of representatives from U.S. blood services, associations and commercial entities, as well as liaisons from governmental agencies, who work together in an effort to ensure that safe and adequate blood product inventories are in place at all times in preparation for disasters. In addition, the Task Force operates as a mechanism to assess the need for collections and/or transportation of blood should a disaster occur.
AABB serves as the designated coordinating entity for the Task Force. In addition to AABB, members include AdvaMed, America's Blood Centers, American Hospital Association, American Red Cross, Blood Centers of America, College of American Pathologists, Be The Match BioTherapies and the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association. Liaisons from the following government agencies also participate in task force discussions: Armed Services Blood Program and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration.
In the event of an emergency, AABB immediately convenes a meeting of Task Force representatives. Local blood center(s) are responsible for ascertaining medical needs based on casualty estimates using pre-determined formulas, assessing available local supply, and communicating that information to the Task Force.
In a disaster, the first priorities of the Task Force are to:
- Verify and communicate to the blood community the medical need for blood
- Identify sites with existing excess blood inventory
- Determine the need, if any, for blood shipment and the logistics of such shipments
- Develop public messages and facilitate the discussion of donor issues