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Your Covid-19 questions answered

I recently recovered from Covid-19, can I still donate blood?

13 September 2021 - 07:00
The SA National Blood Service has urged donors to continue donating blood during the coronavirus pandemic.
The SA National Blood Service has urged donors to continue donating blood during the coronavirus pandemic.
Image: 123RF/Sudok1

Blood donors have to wait 14 to 28 days after recovering from Covid-19 before donating blood again.

According to the SA National Blood Service (SANBS), people who have travelled to affected countries outside of SA will be deferred for 21 days before they can donate blood. 

Those with confirmed Covid-19 infection will be deferred for 28 days from the date of complete clearance of symptoms, and those who have been in close contact with confirmed or probable coronavirus cases will be deferred for 21 days from the last date of contact.

“To donate, a Covid-19 plasma donor must be symptom-free for at least 28 days. This aligns with recent National Institute for Communicable Diseases guidelines on the collection of Covid-19 recovering persons,” said the SANBS.

The service said early evidence shows donors recovering from Covid-19 yield higher levels of antibodies for the virus after 28 days. 

“As information about the virus is evolving rapidly, we closely monitor international developments to make sure our processes and eligibility criteria align with the best evidence available to protect employees, donors and volunteers,” it said. 

In its recommendations the Western Cape Blood Service said an individual can donate blood after 14 days of either getting a Covid-19 vaccine or testing negative. 

“Like international blood collection services, we are allowing people who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to donate blood. You can donate blood after receiving your Covid-19 vaccine, permitting you feel healthy on the day of donation and display no symptoms,” said the organisation. 

“We do not require blood donors to disclose whether they have been vaccinated, if they have not done so in the last 30 days, nor do we record which vaccine they received. If you are a healthcare worker working with Covid-19 patients, you will need to wait 14 days after your vaccination before donating blood.”