FAQs regarding Blood Donation amidst Covid-19 pandemic
India faces blood shortage even under normal circumstances. The scarcity of blood is even more highlighted during the current situation – when it has been difficult for donors to step out of their house to donate blood amid fear over the spread of novel corona virus.
Leading blood banks in the country including, which used to manage around 200 units of blood in one day before the lockdown, are now collecting 20-30 units only. This amounts for nearly 80 percent fall.
So, how can you help? Are you even eligible to donate blood? Here’s all you need to know about blood donation during corona virus pandemic.
Are blood donations allowed during Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes, voluntary blood donations are very much allowed and encouraged by the Indian government.
Earlier, in March and June, the health ministry’s National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) had issued guidelines with regards to blood donation during COVID-19 lockdown. The guidelines said that blood collection and voluntary donations were “essential” and were to be continued to meet the requirements during the period.
To find out more details about the latest guideline visit: http://naco.gov.in/sites/default/files/NBTC%20GUIDANCE%20FOR%20COVID-19.pdf
Who is eligible to donate blood?
- Age: You are aged between 18-65 yrs of age.
- Weight: Minimum 45 kg of weight for both men and women
- Health: You must be in good health at the time you donate.
- Hemoglobin Level: Minimum hemoglobin level of 12.5 gm/dl
- At least 90 days interval since last donation.
- Your BP is under control. If you take BP medication, continue taking it.
Who should refrain from donating blood?
- Confirmed Case: A confirmed case is a person with laboratory confirmation of SARS- COV-2 infection by RT-PCR Test, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. All Very mild/mild/pre-symptomatic/moderate/severe case must be deferred for 28 days after the discharge from the treating facility or 28 days after the end of home isolation.
- Contact History: Individuals should be deferred from donating blood for 28 days with the last possible close contact exposure to a person who is confirmed/suspected case of Covid-19 including those under quarantine.
- Travel history: Individuals should be deferred from donating blood for 28 days after the date of departure from a country with Covid-19 transmission in the community and areas as notified by the MoH&FW from time to time.
Can I get corona virus by blood donation or transfusion?
There has been no reported case of any one contracting corona virus during the blood donation or blood transfusion process. Covid-19 is similar to Sars and Mers infection and the virus spreads through contact or aerosol route. Medical organizations and the WHO have encouraged healthy people to continue donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out more details visit: http://www.aabb.org/advocacy/regulatorygovernment/Pages/Statement-on-Coronavirus-and-Blood-Donation.aspx
Process for Blood Donation during Covid-19 Pandemic
- Pre-Register for donating blood at a camp or take an appointment from the nearest blood bank by calling on 9480044444.
- You will receive a call for pre-donation counseling and steps to follow.
- Your preferred time slot will be shared to you via WhatsApp/SMS for donation to avoid crowding.
Safety Protocol followed by the Blood Collection Centre
- Social Distancing Measures- In blood donation site staff will follow measures of social distancing like physical distancing of one meter between the individuals, measures to reduce overcrowding through slot based donations and blood donation couches to be placed at a distance of one meter.
- Blood centers will carry adequate quantities of PPE(Personal Protective Equipment which includes surgical masks and gloves)
- Adequate quantity of alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be made available both for the staff and for the donors at every point of interaction.
- Before every contact- hand sanitization will be followed. Gloves should be used when drawing samples or bleeding.
- Staffs are trained and should follow cough etiquette.
- No staff member who has close contact with a COVID-19 patient or who has signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or who is unwell in general will attend the drive.
- Staff will come prepared to clean the donor station between successive donations using appropriate disinfectant.
- Touch free thermometers will be carried.
What happens if I test positive for corona virus after donating blood?
If you or your close contact develop any symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of donating the blood, you must inform the blood camp authorities.
What are the guidelines issued to blood collection centers?
You will not be tested for COVID-19 before donating blood. However, in the collection centre or Blood Donation Camp temperature will be checked and all the standard procedures will be followed issued by the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, GoI.
Blood collection centers will adhere to the norms of social distancing. You will be asked to maintain safe distance, use sanitizer and wear a mask when you come for donation. You will donate blood with safety and hygiene.
Where can I get more information on Voluntary Blood Donation during the Pandemic?
A 24*7 helpline service by Sankalp India Foundation is available in the State of Karnataka and the number is +91-94800 44444. You can call on the number to donate the blood or if you know someone who is in the need of blood.
BLOOD DONATION IS A GOOD REASON TO GO OUT. IT IS SAFE!