COVID-19 and Blood Donation
New York Blood Center Enterprises (NYBCe) continues to closely monitor the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and carry out our lifesaving mission in our communities.
The need for blood is ongoing, but COVID-19 has destroyed the foundation on which the community donates blood to patients served by New York Blood Center.
Every week, more than 75,000 blood donations and 1700 donated platelet units are needed to meet patient need. To ensure we are prepared to support health agencies in our communities and across the country, NYBCe strongly urges individuals who feel healthy and well to make an appointment at a donor center or find a new community blood drive.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I donate after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine ?
If you received an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna, or an adenovirus vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s, you may donate blood, platelets, or regular plasma immediately after vaccination as long as you are feeling well and all other donor criteria are met.
- How does NYBCe determine if people are eligible to donate blood?
We ask if you are feeling well and healthy on the day of donation. Our health questionnaire and laboratory screening are designed to identify donors who may be at risk for transfusion transmitted infections.
- Can I donate blood if I’ve traveled recently?
We currently ask each donor about recent travel to regions where there is a higher risk for transfusion transmitted infections such as malaria and CJD. FDA has not established this same kind of requirement for the Corona virus since it is not known to be transmitted by blood. However, individuals who are told by public health officials to self-quarantine due to travel related coronavirus exposure should not donate blood while they are in quarantine status. This is for the protection of our staff and other blood donors.
- What measures are being taken to make sure donor centers are virus-free?
We ask blood donors and our own staff to stay home if they are not feeling well. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations.
- What is NYBCe doing in response to Coronavirus?
We are actively monitoring the situation along with our local partners and will follow the most up to date guidance from the CDC and City and State Departments of Health as the situation evolves. We take the health of our donors and staff very seriously and always follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of infection.
- Can I catch Coronavirus by donating blood?
No. Donating blood is safe. We always use new, sterile needles that are discarded after use.
- Can I donate blood while I’m sick?
No, as always, you are not eligible to donate if you’re experiencing a fever, cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms.
- Do you test blood before it goes to recipients?
All donated blood, even donations from repeat donors, is tested for blood type, hepatitis, HIV, syphilis, and other transfusion transmissible diseases.
We do NOT test for COVID-19. Please contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.
- Can you catch Coronavirus from a blood transfusion?
There is no evidence that coronaviruses are transmitted by blood transfusion. Furthermore, pre-donation screening procedures are designed to prevent donations from people who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illnesses.
- Why is it important to donate now?
It’s important for everyone to donate today so that we can build up a strong blood supply. Blood is a critical component of emergency preparedness because it’s perishable and the supply must be constantly replenished. The blood that’s on the shelf now is the blood that will save lives if there’s an emergency.
- Will we run out of blood?
If future blood drives are cancelled, our community’s blood supply will drop. We need to build up our reserves now so that we have enough blood available to withstand any temporary shortages and help those in need.
- What can I do to protect myself from Coronavirus?
Standard practices for cold and flu season are the best way to keep our community healthy. This includes staying home when you’re sick, frequently washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with your elbow, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or face after touching public surfaces. Visit this link for videos and reminders on proper hand hygiene.
- Can I bring my kids with me to the donor centers when I donate?
Normally, we welcome children that come with their parents, but as we are trying to manage donor spacing, please leave your children at home.
- Are face masks being worn by donors and donor center staff?
Yes, the CDC has updated their recommendations on face masks. Although we make sure individuals are not sick when they come to work or come to donate, we now know that individuals can transmit the virus to others even when they are not sick. With this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing clean cloth face coverings in public settings, such as the donor room, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission, like New York City.
- I have recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate plasma. What should I do?
Thank you for your interest in convalescent plasma donation and JOINING OUR FIGHT TO SAVE LIVES.
While COVID has no proven treatment, it is possible that plasma taken from those who have recovered (convalescent plasma), which has antibodies against the virus, could help.
If you had a positive test, AND your symptoms have been gone for 14 days, AND you are willing to DONATE,please complete and submit this form.
All information provided will be kept confidential and will only be used to qualify you as a donor.
NYBCe is committed to the safety of our donors, volunteers, employees and blood recipients, and to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency.
There is no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmitted by blood transfusion. In fact, there have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmission for any respiratory virus, including this coronavirus.
It is safe to donate blood, and we encourage healthy individuals to donate so that blood is available for those patients who need. Our blood collection sites are disinfected frequently, and we are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 as per CDC recommendations. Our staff are also practicing health self-assessments prior to presenting at work.
NYBCe only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements.
To protect our staff and donors, NYBCe is asking donors to self-screen before coming in to donate.
- Must wear a mask or face covering
- Will have their temperature taken
- Must be 14 days symptom free if recovered from COVID-19
- May NOT donate if they have a positive diagnostic test or experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Must quarantine and NOT donate for 10 days after returning from any state NOT bordering New York State
Travel restrictions are in effect for specific states that would disallow a donor from entering a donor center. If you have spent more than 24 hours in one of the states listed as requiring self-quarantine, please do not schedule a donation until at least 10 days after returning from that state.
If you are unsure whether to donate, or if you have donated recently and you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you test positive for COVID-19, please contact us at 1.800.688.0900.
Please be aware that we do NOT test for COVID-19. You should contact your health care provider if you want to be tested.
If you are feeling healthy and well and meet general eligibility guidelines, please schedule your donation now to help ensure a stable blood supply amid coronavirus concerns.
Make an Appointment
To support the critical need for blood, platelets and plasma, we have extended our donor center operating hours until further notice. Find a convenient donor center near you!
When you present to donate at your local donor center, if you are concerned about waiting for your appointment inside and would prefer to wait outside or in your vehicle, please see our staff and we can take your cell phone number and call or text you when we are ready to see you.
Download your donor letter outlining the permission for you to travel to a donor center to give blood, platelets and plasma during this time.