Coronavirus and Blood Donation – Talking Points
- 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 for potential further spread
- According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted COVID-19.
- No cases of transfusion-transmission were ever reported for the other two coronaviruses that emerged during the past two decades (SARS and MERS-CoV).
- 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.
- Routine blood donor screening measures – which may include travel deferrals – that are already in place are designed to prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood.
- AABB, FDA and CDC are not recommending any additional action by blood collection establishments at this time because there are no data or precedent suggesting risk of transfusion transmission for COVID-19.
- If the outbreak continues to spread, additional challenges could arise, which could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors.
- To ensure an adequate blood supply it is imperative that healthy, eligible individuals donate blood so that an adequate blood supply can be maintained at all times.
- All healthy individuals and sponsors of blood drives are strongly encouraged to schedule appointments and keep commitments to donate blood.
- Blood has a short shelf life and must be continually replenished. Blood donors must be healthy, feeling well and free of respiratory illness symptoms to be eligible to donate.
- Individuals should confirm eligibility requirements before scheduling a donation to ensure they will not be deferred.
- It is the blood already on the shelves that saves lives.