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Donors give blood in Murray, Utah, in 2020. (AP) Donors give blood in Murray, Utah, in 2020. (AP)

Donors give blood in Murray, Utah, in 2020. (AP)

Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone November 28, 2023

No, COVID-19 vaccinated blood poses no risk, health experts say

If Your Time is short

  • There is no danger from blood transfusions that include blood from COVID-19 vaccinated donors, health experts said.

  • Vaccine components are not found in the bloodstream, an American Red Cross spokesperson said.

COVID-19 vaccine skeptics for three years now have baselessly claimed that blood donated by vaccine recipients is unsafe.

Some patients have asked their doctors to use blood from unvaccinated donors — a tough task in the U.S., where 81% of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Despite repeated assurances from health officials that blood donated by vaccinated people poses no health risk, the claims persist on social media.

"You’re. In. Danger," a Nov. 25 Instagram post’s caption read. It shared a screenshot of a Sept. 13, 2022, American Red Cross X post that said, "We don't label blood products as containing vaccinated or unvaccinated blood as the COVID-19 vaccine does not enter the bloodstream & poses no safety risks to the recipient."

The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

American Red Cross spokesperson Daniel Parra told PolitiFact, "Blood donations from individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are safe for transfusion."

Like other vaccines, including for influenza, Parra said, the COVID-19 vaccines are designed to generate an immune response. "Vaccine components themselves are not found within the bloodstream," he said.

Parra said all U.S. blood collectors follow eligibility guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

In a Nov. 27 statement to PolitiFact, the FDA said it "takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure the safety of the nation’s blood supply" and pointed us to guidance it issued in 2022 about COVID-19 and blood donation.

The FDA hasn’t required or recommended delays in blood donations of people after they received COVID-19 vaccines, the statement said. The FDA’s statement added that there’s "no medical or scientific" justification for seeking donations from only unvaccinated people.

Nevertheless, the false narrative has fueled the creation of anti-vaccine networks in which people can seek blood supposedly donated by unvaccinated people. In October, an FDA advisory said directed blood donation requests "lack scientific support" and urged people to "be cautious about websites that offer memberships" for blood "from individuals who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19."

In January, the American Red Cross also issued a joint statement with America’s Blood Centers and the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies reiterating the safety of blood donations from COVID-19 vaccinated people.

"COVID-19 vaccines do not replicate, and all blood donations offer the same life-saving therapeutic benefits, regardless of the vaccination status of the donor," the statement said.

The claim that blood transfusions from donors who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 endanger recipients has no basis in science, health experts said. We rate the claim False.

Our Sources

Instagram post, Nov. 25, 2023 (archived)

American Red Cross, X post, Sept. 13, 2022

American Red Cross, Frequently Asked Questions — Medications and Vaccinations, accessed Nov. 27, 2023

American Red Cross, Donating Blood After Getting COVID or Flu Vaccine, Nov. 17, 2023

American Red Cross, Joint Statement: Blood Community Reiterates the Safety of America’s Blood Supply for Patients, Jan. 27, 2023

Daniel Parra, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, email interview, Nov. 27, 2023

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, emailed statement, Nov. 27, 2023

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Important Information About Directed Blood Donations that are Not Medically Indicated, Oct. 23, 2023

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Updated Information for Blood Establishments Regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic and Blood Donation, Jan. 11, 2022

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States, May 11, 2023

KFF Health News, ‘Tainted’ Blood: Covid Skeptics Request Blood Transfusions From Unvaccinated Donors, Aug. 17, 2021

Association for the Advancement of blood and biotherapies, Vaccination and blood donation, accessed Nov. 27, 2023

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No, COVID-19 vaccinated blood poses no risk, health experts say

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