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How the COVID-19 vaccine impacts blood donation

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(WBNG) - With the ongoing pandemic, the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors to meet the needs of patients, but if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine it might impact the next time you donate.

Per FDA guidelines the Red Cross said the answer to whether or not someone can give blood is based on the type of COVID-19 vaccine they received.

If someone got an inactivated or RNA based COVID-19 vaccine, like the ones manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer, there is no waiting period to donate blood.

However if the vaccine is a replication defective virus vaccine then they must wait two weeks. The vaccines being made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson fit this category. Both of those are set to be approved for use in the coming weeks.

The difference is the way the vaccines are developed and how they interact with cells in the body.

As described by Doctor William Moss, executive director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "Instead of directly injecting the nucleic acid, an RNA or DNA version of that gene, the gene is delivered in another virus. They're different strategies to trick our own body to make the virus protein, release it from the cells, and then our immune system responds to that."

The Red Cross said if a person does not know which type of COVID-19 vaccine they received they must wait four weeks before donating.

Regardless of the type of vaccine, all potential donors must be symptom free and feeling well at the time of donation.

The Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet, and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of that effort, plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may not help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions.

Kaitlin Pearson

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