A pertinent question that has crossed minds of Covid-19 recovered patients is are they eligible to donate blood
Respiratory viruses cannot be transmitted by transfusion of blood (Reuters Imaga)
The ongoing coronavirus health crisis has diverted attention from several other concerns India’s healthcare system has been facing like blood transfusion service. Nationwide lockdown and restriction on public events affected the availability of adequate quantities of safe and quality blood in the Blood Centres across the country.
Now as restrictions are being rolled back with a declining number of cases and start of vaccination drive, a pertinent question that has crossed minds of Covid-19 recovered patients is are they eligible to donate blood?
Dr Sandeep Patil, Chief Intensivist & Physician, Fortis Hospital informed Indian Express that social distancing has led to a shortage of blood units in blood banks in the country. Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are worried if they can donate blood while individuals looking for a donor are worried if receiving blood can put them at risk of contracting Covid-19.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare guidelines, blood transfusion processes will not put the recipient at high risk of getting virus infection as respiratory viruses cannot be transmitted by donation, affirms Dr Patil.
When can a recovered person donate blood?
According to Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee’s guidelines, if the donor had tested positive for coronavirus, he ideally has to wait for 28 days from receding of symptoms before donating blood. Even if he tests negative before 28 days, the deferral time is necessary. Similarly of the donor has had coronavirus symptoms but tested negative, he should wait for at least 14 days before donation.
The 28 days deferral period holds valid for individuals who have has Covid-19 symptoms but not have taken a test or is not aware of the results or one who tested positive but never had symptoms, to donate blood.
Guidelines in India, however, suggest a COVID-19 patient can only donate after the 28-day deferral, or after full recovery. A donor should further consult a doctor for any doubt.