New Blood Donor Rules May Ease Shortage
Due to changes in federal rules, more people are eligible to give blood.
Michelle O'Neill reports the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is urging more people to donate because hundreds of blood drives have been cancelled because of the pandemic.
Pete Lux, Director of Donor Services, says previously, people who lived in Europe for three months or more were not allowed to donate blood in the US. That was due to Mad Cow Disease (Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease).
But, the Food and Drug Administration has lifted those restrictions for certain countries. People who were deferred for living on a military base may be allowed to donate now. And the blood center may contact them to ask them to make appointments. (The United Kingdom, Ireland, and France are not included in that list of changes. See document below.)
The blood center needs to collect about 3,500 units of whole blood per week. But currently, it's only collecting 3,200. And Lux says the center can't store whole blood indefinitely. It can only be used for about six weeks.
Other eligibility rules have changed. For example, those who've had a tattoo or piercing are allowed to donate blood after a three-month wait instead of a year. And the same waiting period applies to those who may have been exposed to HIV.
People who were previously deferred can check online HERE to find out if they might be allowed to give blood under the new rules. Or call 800. 747.5401, ext. 1281.