Giving blood stopped briefly with non-essential hospital appointments during the coronavirus lockdown this year. As the lockdown eases, people can donate once more, but many people will be cautious about entering medical facilities. Express.co.uk has a look at just how safe it is if you’ve received a letter about blood donation recently.
Is it safe to give blood?
The NHS Blood and Transplant website states: “We always need new donors to replace the ones who are unable to give because of illness or other circumstances.
“The first step is to register. As we’re very busy at the moment you may find getting a donor account is delayed, but don’t worry we will be in touch with you.
“Once you are fully registered you can book your first appointment. For new donors, this is likely to be some months away.”
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“We will need you most later in the year as we feel the impact of coronavirus.”
NHS Blood and Transplant said blood and platelet supplies have held up during the pandemic, but are urging people to continue donating.
On top of regular stock, they need additional plasma to help in the COVID-19 research drive.
Health officials insist it is still safe for non-vulnerable people to venture out and donate blood, as they have implemented safety measures to guard against any ill effects.
An NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson, said: “Blood donation is as safe as possible.
“We’ve put extra safety measures in place and safety is always our number one priority.
“We’re spacing donors out, doing extra cleaning, our staff are wearing facemasks and we’re triaging everyone who arrives so only people with no risk factors can enter the donation area. We’re asking donors to follow the latest advice on our website and app and the advice from the Government.”
“We’re constantly reviewing the latest information and putting in place measures where needed. Safety is always our number one priority.”
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Staff are wearing face masks, and the NHS has advised donors to do the same.
Anyone coming to a blood donation appointment will have to answer additional questions at triage to evaluate any coronavirus risks.
People will coronavirus symptoms will have to wait at least 14 days before they attend a session, and people with a confirmed infection must wait until two weeks after their symptoms subside.
Those who have come into contact with an infected person can attend their appointment as long as they don’t need to self-isolate.
Anyone over the age of 70 or vulnerable cannot, however.
While the blood donation process has been disrupted slightly by COVID-19, it could be vital in getting health services back to normal.
Donating blood plasma forms part of the fight against the deadly disease, as ex-patients carry the most effective samples which could save lives.
NHS officials need donations from three select groups, namely over-35s who have recovered from the disease, male survivors and those who needed hospital treatment.
A trial is currently underway to determine whether survivors’ plasma could bolster the immune response of people suffering from the disease.
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