Donors can give blood 24 hours after taking COVID-19 vaccine – Health Minister

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                                                   Dr Frank Anthony, Minister of Health

Persons who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine can donate blood but should wait 24 hours after taking the shot to do so, according to Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony.

“There’s no indication that you cannot give blood. Our advisory is that after you’ve been vaccinated, if you want to give blood after 24 hours, it’s okay. There’s no contrary indication,” he noted.

Dr Anthony added, “The vaccines are designed to stimulate your immune system without giving you any disease. The vaccines have been developed globally and are designed in such a way to stimulate your immune system so that you can produce antibodies to fight off COVID-19. But they don’t give you any disease,” he emphasised.od after 24 hours, it’s okay. There’s no contrary indication.”

The World Health Organisation has backed this position, noting that approved vaccines for the SARS-CoV-2 disease do not suggest any concerns for blood donation.

This is since the liposome-encapsulated mRNA vaccines do not contain any live virus, and any risk for use of blood components from recipients of these vaccines is theoretical and likely insignificant.

“Although consistent with current general global practice, recipients of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that do not contain live virus may donate blood if they feel well, as SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have been developed only recently, and in settings where deferrals would not compromise blood supply availability, a precautionary deferral period of up to seven days may be considered to minimise the impact of call-backs from donors who develop symptoms subsequent to donating soon after vaccination,” the Organisation added.

Recipients of live virus vaccines, that is virus vector-based or live-attenuated virus, are the persons who should be deferred for four weeks, consistent with current practices. However, this is not the case for any Guyanese.

Reduction of donor numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO said, has been a major risk and should be considered early to enable preparedness and response. As these reductions vary throughout the course of the pandemic, it explained that blood donation numbers should be closely monitored so that measures can be taken quickly to pre-empt any decline.

“This is particularly critical for components with short shelf life, such as platelets, where a constant supply is needed for patients dependent on platelet transfusions. Cooperation among hospitals and blood collection centres to monitor inventories and to redistribute blood components to prevent wastage may help to balance local supply and demand. A significant decline in donations occurs when individuals are unwilling to donate because of their fear of being infected during blood donation.”

Meanwhile, Dr Anthony clarified that the vaccines cause the immune system to build a defence from the virus, without contracting the disease.