CLAIM: The Red Cross won’t accept plasma donations from people who have had a COVID-19 vaccine.
THE FACTS: The American Red Cross is accepting blood and plasma donations from those who have received COVID-19 vaccines. The Red Cross states that in most cases there is no need for donors to wait to give blood, which includes plasma, after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as long as a donor is symptom free and feeling well. Blood donors should, however, be able to provide the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received when donating. Yet as more and more Americans receive COVID-19 vaccines, posts online are falsely claiming that vaccinated Americans can no longer donate plasma. The posts are part of a larger misinformation effort to falsely suggest the vaccines are dangerous. “The red cross won’t accept plasma donations from people who have had the covid-19 vaccine,” say posts that were shared on Facebook and Twitter. “You’re willing to put something in your body that is so untested that the FDA and Red Cross don’t know if you can donate Plasma, yet me not wanting to take it makes me irresponsible?” In fact, the posts are misstating new eligibility directives for donating convalescent plasma, which is plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients used to treat others with the illness. The Red Cross once had a dedicated program collecting convalescent plasma, but that program ended on March 26. The change happened after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated guidance to ensure that donations from vaccinated people would contain the antibodies needed for the convalescent plasma to be useful in treating COVID-19 patients. “The Red Cross acknowledges that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration did update its guidance regarding convalescent plasma donor eligibility related to those who receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” the Red Cross says on their website. “We are evaluating the feasibility and timeline to implement this complex update, alongside the evolving hospital needs for COVID-19 patients.” The Red Cross, however, continues to accept blood donations from people regardless of their vaccine status. All blood collected through those donations is tested for COVID-19 antibodies in case it can be used for convalescent plasma to treat patients. Due to the pandemic, the Red Cross has reported a decline in blood drives, which has created more demand for blood donations.
— Associated Press writer Beatrice Dupuy in New York contributed this report.