Navigating the pandemic has been hard for the best of us, but more so for those who were already grappling with life threatening chronic illnesses.
During the pandemic, oweing to COVID, the fear of COVID, lockdowns, and vaccination mandates, blood banks have been drying up and those paying the price are the ones whose survival depends on regular transfussion.
And this acute shortage of blood is feared to only get worse as the pandemic rages on.
In India, every 2 seconds someone needs blood. Around 5 Crore units of blood are needed every year, and only 2.5 Crore units are collected. A number that has dipped even further during the pandemic.
Still have reservations about stepping out to donate blood in these times? FIT answers your FAQs about safely donating blood during the pandemic.
Will I need an RT-PCR test report to donate blood?
There are no official regulation requiring you to carry a COVID negative RT-PCR test report in order to donate blood, but this can vary depending on the establishment.
Your temperature will be checked and all other standard testing protocol will be followed.
You well also be expencet to follow COVID appropriate behaviour including masking and sanitising.
make sure to contact the hospital or donation facility in advance to know if you will need a COVID negative test report.
I recently had COVID. How long do I have to wait before donating blood?
According to the latest government guidelines, COVID recovered patients can only donate blood 14 days after their RT-PCR test comes back negative.
Can I donate blood after getting vaccinated?
According to the guidelines issued by the national Expert Group for Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, people getting either of the COVID vaccines can only donate blood 14 days after getting the jab.
It must, however, also be noted that it is perfectly safe to donate blood after getting vaccinated.
According to the American Red Cross, people who receive any of the inactivated or mRNA-based vaccines—including India's Covaxin, Covishield—do not need to abstain from donating blood as long as they are symptom free.
Can I get COVID from donating blood?
Blood donation does not pose any added risk of contracting COVID. It is a safe procedure wherein all necessary precautions for the safety of the donor are taken.
There has been no reported case of any one contracting coronavirus during the blood donation or blood transfusion process.
How can I donate blood if there are travel restrictions in my City/Town?
NGOs like Thalassamics India, also arrange for exemption passes that will allow you to travel (cross state borders if need be) to donate blood during lockdowns and curfews.
Public transportation is risky, and I can't afford to book a cab. Is there a way I can go to donate blood?
Many NGOs and collectives, like Thalassamics India, that work to promote blood donation will also provide free pick-up and drop-off services.
How can I donate blood when no blood donation camps are being held near me?
Websites like Friends2support facilitate direct connection between a donor and donnee and help make the process as transparent as possible.
Reaching out to NGOs and connecting directly with patients who urgently need donors for blood transfusion can also help in making your your good intention and efforts are helping someone in immediate need.