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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke May 28, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine recipients can donate plasma

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  • COVID-19 vaccine recipients can generally donate plasma. 
  • The Red Cross requires that plasma that could be used as convalescent plasma to help treat people with COVID-19 come from donors who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination. 

Numerous social media posts have recently claimed that people who get the COVID-19 vaccine can’t donate plasma, but that’s wrong. 

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

We previously looked into claims that COVID-19 vaccine recipients can’t donate blood. That’s also wrong. Generally, vaccine recipients can donate blood, platelets and plasma if they’re feeling healthy and well, according to the American Red Cross.

If you don’t know the name of your vaccine manufacturer, the Red Cross will ask you to wait two weeks before you donate. But if you received one of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States, there’s no deferral period. 

Blood plasma is often given to trauma, burn and shock patients because it helps boost blood volumes, which can prevent shock and help with blood clotting, according to the Red Cross. Convalescent plasma, meanwhile, involves blood from people who’ve recovered from an illness to help others recover. 

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It’s being used to help people with COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization for convalescent plasma therapy to treat the disease.

The FDA allows people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to donate convalescent plasma within six months of their infection of the virus. Convalescent plasma is used to help treat people with COVID-19 

But some people may be confused over whether vaccine recipients can donate plasma or not because the Red Cross said it wasn’t accepting convalescent plasma donations from people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Red Cross wants convalescent plasma from people that have not received the COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that there are enough antibodies directly related to their immune response to a COVID-19 infection. That’s because the antibodies someone produces after a COVID-19 infection are slightly different from the antibodies someone produces when they’ve been vaccinated, said Katie Wilkes, a spokesperson for the Red Cross. 

The Red Cross stopped dedicated COVID-19 convalescent plasma donations in March "due to declining hospital demand and sufficient industry supply," Wilkes said, but it still tests all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies and plasma from routine blood and platelet donations that meet certain requirements maye be used as convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. 

We rate this post False.


Our Sources

Instagram post, May 19, 2021

Instagram post, May 19, 2021

Instagram post, May 20, 2021

Instagram post, May 21, 2021

PolitiFact, Ask PolitiFact: Can COVID-19 vaccine recipients donate blood? April 23, 2021

Mayo Clinic, Convalescent plasma therapy, visited May 27, 2021

Red Cross, Can I donate after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine? visited May 27, 2021

Red Cross, The importance of plasma in blood, visited May 27, 2021

Red Cross, Answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccines and blood, platelet or plasma donation eligibility, May 27, 2021

Email interview with Katie Wilkes, senior manager, media relations, American Red Cross, May 20, 2021


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