High demand for convalescent plasma

Mackenzie Davis
Updated: January 25, 2021 10:45 PM
Created: January 25, 2021 06:23 PM

(ABC 6 News) -  As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations still remain high throughout the country, the demand for convalescent plasma is matching that trend.

If you have fully recovered from COVID-19, you can donate your plasma at least two weeks after recovery.

"This is not a new thing that we are asking people to donate. It's just that right now we're really putting an extra emphasis on donating plasma if you have recovered from COVID because there is only a small percentage of people who can do that... because someone who is in the hospital can really use that," Melanie Tschida, Executive Director of the SE Minnesota Chapter of the American Red Cross, said.

By donating, you are giving someone who is hospitalized with Coronavirus those antibodies that are present in the plasma to help them fight the virus.

Now with vaccinations becoming available for some, the FDA changed the rules regarding vaccination and being able to donate.

"Currently if you get the vaccine, we are deferring you from convalescent plasma donation, but that may, and that's a big may, may change in the future for Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center," Dr. Justin Juskewitch, Associate Medical Director at Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center, said.

However, if you have gotten vaccinated, you are still able to donate routine blood products like whole blood, regular plasma and platelets.

"As people get vaccinated, there will be less people getting infected, and hopefully with fewer people getting infected, fewer people will end up in the hospital. Convalescent plasma is only approved for those individuals who are hospitalized with COVID-19 infection. So the hope is as vaccines become more available, we'll see less demand for this particular product," Juskewitch said.

Last month, the Red Cross distributed the greatest number of convalescent plasma products than any other month during the pandemic, with hospital distributions increasing 250 percent since October.

"Like any blood product, the reason to donate is because you want to help someone who needs that product," Tschida said.

In Rochester, you can donate convalescent plasma at Mayo Clinic Blood Donor Center and the American Red Cross.


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