TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As the demand for convalescent plasma grows, the number of eligible donors is dropping.
The Red Cross has seen a 250% increase in the need for the lifesaving plasma, given to COVID-19 patients, grow since October.
However, if you receive the COVID-vaccine you can no longer donate convalescent plasma.
The FDA put out the regulation due to the vaccine being so new. The good news, you can still help save lives after getting vaccinated through donating whole blood, platelets and regular plasma - just not convalescent plasma.
“If you have received the inactivated or RNA-based COVID-19 vaccination, which is manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer, there is no deferral for you to donate whole blood or platelets,” said Courtney Slanaker, the executive director for the Southern Arizona Chapter of the Red Cross.
Jane Locke, a teacher in Tucson, is a convalescent plasma donor. She said she still has her antibodies from having COVID-19 in May.
“That speaks to the data that needs to be collected to be able to track this,” Locke said. “Then when I’m told that people actually receive my plasma, that takes it to a whole another level of importance.”
She hopes to continue donating until she gets the vaccine.
“If it’s not to save lives, it’s for the science of learning more about COVID,” Locke said.
A person can donate convalescent plasma each week for up to a three-month time period.
“Hopefully that time period will work out with them donating and then maybe getting the vaccine,” Slanaker said.
Learn more about eligibility requirements and how to donate convalescent plasma at the Red Cross, HERE.