COVID-19 Vaccine and Blood Donations

Premier Pulse     May 2021

With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ongoing nationwide, some donors and patients have questions about vaccination, blood donations, and blood transfusions. American Association of Blood Banks experts have compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Can individuals donate blood if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Yes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) blood donation eligibility criteria permit individuals to donate blood after they have received a vaccine that is authorized in the United States, including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer.

Is blood labeled to indicate if it was donated by a vaccinated individual?

  • There are no requirements to collect and share information on the donor’s vaccination status because vaccines do not pose risks to patients who receive a blood transfusion. Therefore, blood products are never labeled with such information.
  • The labeling information for donated blood is limited to information that is relevant to the selection and use of the product, including the ABO group, and other information as required by the FDA.
  • Hospitals are not able to inform patients about whether or not a unit of blood was donated by a vaccinated individual.

Do the vaccines affect the blood supply?

  • COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States present no known risk to the safety of the blood supply or to patients receiving a blood transfusion.
  • Vaccines using mRNA do not contain transmissible virus.
  • The blood community has been working closely with the FDA since early 2020 to address all questions regarding COVID-19 vaccines and to ensure the highest levels of quality and safety for the nation’s blood supply.
  • All donors must be well and healthy on the day of donation.

How should health care providers respond if a patient requiring a blood transfusion requests blood from a nonvaccinated person?

  • Explain that blood donated by individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine is not associated with a risk for COVID-19 infection; the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not transmissible by blood. In addition, all blood donations must meet all safety criteria, without exception.
  • Explain that blood donations are always tested for evidence of infectious diseases as part of a rigorous system to protect patients who might need a transfusion.
  • Explain that the hospital is not able to meet such a request because the information is not on the label of blood products, nor available to the hospital.
  • Explain that every patient has the option to accept or decline transfusion, following the hospital’s informed consent policy, processes, and procedures. Legal requirements for informed consent vary from state to state; however, the requirements generally include:
    • An explanation of options and alternatives;
    • An explanation of the material risks and benefits of each option;
    • An opportunity for the patient to ask questions and have them answered by a qualified health care professional; and
    • Documentation of the patient’s decision, including any conditions expressed for the consent.

DISCLAIMER: This document is not intended to be relied on for legal advice. For legal questions, please consult with legal counsel familiar with applicable laws and regulations in individual states and localities.

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