ALBUQUERQUE — As COVID-19 cases are on the rise and New Mexicans are sheltering in place through Nov. 30, Vitalant reminds individuals that blood donation is an essential activity and they are permitted to leave the house to donate at a Vitalant location or blood drive.
Healthy individuals are encouraged to donate live-saving blood, platelets or plasma. Donors can rest assured that Vitalant is taking every necessary safety precaution to keep New Mexicans healthy as they donate.
Additionally, Vitalant is asking anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to help other patients through donating life-saving convalescent plasma. Recovered COVID-19 patients have immune-boosting antibodies to the virus in their plasma, which can be given to patients currently fighting COVID-19. This effort gives those currently suffering from COVID-19 a better opportunity to combat the virus.
As a thank you, a $5 Amazon.com gift card will be emailed to all who give blood during Nov. 25-Dec. 1.
Another way to help your community during the pandemic is by hosting a virtual blood drive. Since many blood drives have been forced to cancel due to the pandemic, Vitalant is offering coordinators another way to help save lives by becoming a COVID Rescue Team Leader by hosting a virtual blood drive.
Organizing a virtual blood drive is easy and no significant advanced planning or logistics is required. Virtual blood drives allow donors to give at any Vitalant location or traditional community blood drive, while still donating on behalf of the organization.
Blood Donation is an Essential Activity
The U.S. Surgeon General and Federal Emergency Management Agency have designated blood, platelet and convalescent plasma donation as essential activities during the pandemic. Right now, the need for donations is great as nearly 2,000 Vitalant blood drives have already been canceled during November and December, including a total of 231 drives in the Four Corners, Roswell, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque areas, due to schools transitioning to virtual learning and businesses in work-from-home situations. Yet the patient need continues.
Emergency Need for Convalescent Plasma Donations
As new coronavirus cases surge across the U.S., the need for antibody-rich convalescent plasma donations from those recovered from COVID-19 has reached emergency levels. Antibodies within convalescent plasma can give an extra boost to patients battling the disease. People from the same household who have recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to help patients by giving together.
All Donations are Tested for COVID-19 Antibodies
Vitalant tests all blood and platelet donations for COVID-19 antibodies—and informs donors of the results—to find potential donors who could give convalescent plasma. In fact, donors whose blood tests positive for antibodies can help a COVID-19 patient with their plasma while their other blood components could help additional patients. Red blood cells help carry oxygen throughout the body and platelets help blood clot. Testing positive for antibodies also puts donors on a unique track to regularly give convalescent plasma to help even more COVID-19 patients.
How to Give
To learn more and schedule an appointment to give, please visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825). All eligible donors—especially those recovered from COVID-19 or with type O blood—are urged to make an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead. Vitalant continues to deploy additional precautionary measures to ensure donor, patient and staff safety during the pandemic.
Vitalant (“Vye-TAL-ent”) is the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit blood services provider exclusively focused on providing lifesaving blood and comprehensive transfusion medicine services for approximately 1,000 hospitals and their patients across 40 states. Every day, Vitalant needs to collect about 5,500 blood and platelet donations to help save lives. For more information and to schedule a donation appointment, visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.