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FAQ: Can I Donate Blood Amid COVID-19 Crisis? What Should I Know?

Are you even eligible to donate blood during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s all you need to know.

Published
F.A.Q
3 min read
FAQ: Can I Donate Blood Amid COVID-19 Crisis? What Should I Know?
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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 coronavirus.

According to some reports, leading blood banks in the country including the Indian Red Cross Society, which used to manage around 200 units of blood in one day before the lockdown, are now collecting 30-40 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 coronavirus pandemic.

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Are blood donations allowed during coronavirus pandemic?

Yes, voluntary blood donations are very much allowed and encouraged by the Indian government.

Earlier, in March, 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.

Generally, what are the rules of donating blood in India?

In India, as a standard guideline, anyone above 18 years of age is allowed to donate blood. They should be weigh above 45 kg and should not be sick with any kind of bacterial, fungal or viral infection at the time of donation. Pregnant and breast-feeding women are not allowed to donate blood.

However, there have slight modifications made to the criteria in light of the pandemic.

Who should refrain from donating blood?

  • If have come in contact with a positive case or a suspect or even someone who is under quarantine, refrain from donating blood for 28 days
  • Individuals cannot donate blood for 28 days after departing from a country where there has been community transmission of coronavirus
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19, wait until you recover completely to donate blood

Can I get coronavirus by blood transfusion?

There has been no reported case of any one contracting coronavirus during the blood donation or blood transfusion process. Medical organisations and the WHO have encouraged healthy people to continue donating blood during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What happens if I test positive for coronavirus after donating blood?

If you test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of donating the blood, you must inform the blood camp authorities. The un-utilised blood should be discarded.

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What are the guidelines issued to blood collection centres?

You will not be tested for COVID-19 before donating blood. However, the collection centre temperature will be checked and all the standard procedures will be followed.

Blood collection centres must adhere to the norms of social distancing. You will be asked to maintain safe distance and use sanitizer.

Where can I get information about the various donation centres?

A 24*7 helpline service by Indian Red Cross is available and the numbers are 011-23359379, 93199 82104, 93199 82105. You can call on these numbers to donate the blood or if you know someone who is in the need.

You can also use the National Health Mission’s e-Rakt Kosh - an online portal that helps people find donation camps across the country and provides blood stock information. The portal will also provide you a pass to step out of your house, during lockdown, for blood donation.

(Email us at COVID19FAQs@thequint.com for all your queries related to coronavirus or the lockdown.)

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