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How blood donation eligibility has changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

Summer months blood shortage prompts call for donations
Posted at 3:53 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 16:53:41-04

As most blood drives began to close at the start of the pandemic and continued for months, it caused a severe lack of blood supply for those who needed it most.

As the blood supply began to drop to critical levels, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made several changes that would allow donations from previously deferred donors.

Before the pandemic, many potential donors had been deferred for several reasons.

From spending an extended period of time in the United Kingdom after 1980, traveling to a malaria-endemic country or for men who had sexual contact with another man, were all reasons to be deferred.

Men who had answered 'yes' to having sexual contact with another man in the past three months would have their deferral period from 12 months to three months.

There is also a three-month deferral period for a woman who had sexual contact in the last three months with a man who had sexual contact with another man in the past three months.

For donors that were deferred due to living in Europe or the United Kingdom due to the risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (mad cow disease), you now have different deferral requirements.

Carter Bloodcare says the new guidelines will allow thousands of more people to donate blood who had been previously deferred.

For more information on updated blood donation eligibility, go to Carter Bloodcare's website.

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