While India is battling a serious war against the deadly pandemic in its second wave, the need for blood donors and plasma donors has become important than ever. But the blood banks around the country are facing an acute shortage due to increased demand and low donors, and the entire shortfall comes to over a million units. Doctors fear that India is more likely to face a scarcity of blood donors in the coming months due to the pandemic and vaccination.
Blood cannot be stored indefinitely. And also given the current situation, with educational institutes being closed and young professionals mandated to work from home, blood banks cannot carry out donation camps, and holding big blood donation camps is also difficult. So it is very important and urgent that the government find ways to carry out blood donation camps and encourage people to come forward during these critical times even at in-state levels.
Also, right now, those who have taken the second dose of the COVID vaccine cannot donate blood for the next 28 days. There should be a gap of 28 days between the first and second dose of the vaccine as well. This means that anyone who gets the first jab will have to wait for 56 days before donating blood.
Since many people are undergoing vaccination, they cannot donate blood. In the case of the AstraZeneca-Covishield vaccine by SII Pune, the second dose is given after 6 weeks and hence had to wait for 70 days.
Considering the huge potential stress on the blood banks, National Blood Transfusion Council (NTBC) later on, modified their guidelines to recommend blood donation 28 days after the first dose. This has considerably eased the pressure on blood banks. “Young, healthy donors should voluntarily walk into blood banks to donate as cancer & Thalassemia patients, accident victims and patients who undergo emergency surgery are in dire need of blood & its products,” said Dr. Raghvendrra Chikatoor, Senior Consultant and HOD, Cardiovascular thoracic and Transplant Surgeon, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital.
“We urge the young healthy volunteers to donate blood either before taking the covid vaccine or at least 28 days after the first dose (before taking the second dose). All is not lost yet as the vaccine administration for roughly 40 crore population in 18-44 age group is going to take time” he added.
The plasma therapy used to treat Covid patients aims at using antibodies from the blood of a recovered COVID-19 patient to treat those critically infected by the virus. Plasma is a blood component that contains virus-fighting antibodies. It is like blood donation, however, the same plasma gets separated from the blood and the remaining blood will be transferred back to your body resulting in zero blood loss. The procedure is completely harmless and the donor does not experience any pain, sickness or dizziness.
Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, COVID19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in the blood against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection.
You can donate plasma if you are:
- Between 18-60 years of age and for women, she should be above 18 years of age and should never have been pregnant.
- Weigh more than 50 kgs.
- Previously confirmed positive for COVID-19 by a laboratory test.
- Recovered from documented infection of COVID-19 and have been symptom-free for at least 14 days.
- Found negative for all pre-donation testing for relevant transfusion-transmitted infections.
- Meeting all other blood donation criteria.
Who cannot donate plasma?
- Those who weigh less than 50 Kg
- Cancer Survivors
- Diabetics on insulin
- Uncontrolled diabetes & hypertension
- Chronic heart/kidney/ liver or lung disease
- Pregnant women and those who had a pregnancy in the past.