SPOKANE, Wash — Blood banks in the Inland Northwest and across the country are experiencing a historic shortage of blood.
This problem is being compounded by blood bank employees being exposed to or contracting COVID-19 themselves. With blood banks needing as many donors as they can handle, some have wondered if those vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely donate blood.
Can someone vaccinated against COVID-19 donate blood? If so, does it matter what vaccine the person received, and are there any potential side effects for the recipient?
Dr. John Hess, Professor of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology and Hematology, University of Washington Medical Center
Erin Baker, Senior Donor Recruitment Manager, Vitalant Blood Donation
Yes, people vaccinated against COVID-19 can give blood safely so long as they feel well, regardless of which vaccine they received. There are no known side effects associated with receiving a blood transfusion from someone vaccinated against COVID-19.
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Dr. John Hess is a professor of laboratory medicine, pathology and hematology at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. When asked if a vaccinated person can give blood, he had a simple answer.
"Yes, you can," Hess said.
Baker also said Vitalant Blood Donation, one of the largest blood banks in the Spokane area, sees no problems with vaccinated people giving blood.
Hess explained that the reasoning behind being able to donate blood after getting one of the vaccines is straightforward, and it doesn't matter which vaccine you received.
"None of the vaccines are live virus vaccines like the old polio vaccine, and so none of them create the risk of transmitting the virus in the vaccine on to anyone else," Hess said.
He also said there is no known risk of side effects to those receiving a blood transfusion from someone vaccinated against COVID-19. However, he said when it comes to giving blood, there are some vaccine-related precautions to take.
"I wouldn't donate while you're feeling sick after getting the vaccine, but as long as you're feeling well and meet the donor criteria, I see no problem," Hess said.
Baker echoed those sentiments, but added that in the age of COVID-19, people need to be healthy before they go into a blood bank to donate.
"We want to make sure that you as a donor are well and healthy coming into it. So if you have any symptoms, we do want you to wait about 14 days," Baker said.