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South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Donate Blood – Save a Life – National Blood Donor Month

As we, thankfully, say goodbye to 2020, it’s time to look forward and see what we can do to make 2021 a better year. COVID doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, but there is something that we can do to help those affected by COVID — donate blood and plasma. Particularly if you have recovered

As we, thankfully, say goodbye to 2020, it’s time to look forward and see what we can do to make 2021 a better year.

COVID doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, but there is something that we can do to help those affected by COVID — donate blood and plasma. Particularly if you have recovered from COVID-19.

People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 for at least two weeks are encouraged to consider donating plasma, which may help save the lives of other patients. COVID-19 convalescent plasma must only be collected from recovered individuals if they are eligible to donate blood.

The Red Cross is currently looking for people who have fully recovered from this new coronavirus to give convalescent plasma for seriously ill coronavirus patients. You may qualify to help if you meet specific convalescent plasma and regular blood donation eligibility requirements:
– Are at least 17 years old and weigh 110 lbs. Additional weight requirements apply for donors age 18 or younger.
– Are in good health. You generally feel well, even if you’re being treated for a chronic condition.
– Have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19, but are now symptom-free and fully recovered from COVID-19.

If you meet all the criteria above and are willing to help, please contact the Red Cross. To help meet the growing need for this product to treat COVID-19 patients, eligible individuals can donate their convalescent plasma with the Red Cross every seven days for up to three months.

According to the American Red Cross, “Historically, convalescent plasma has been used as a potentially lifesaving treatment in some situations when new diseases or infections develop quickly, and no treatments or vaccines were available yet. Convalescent plasma is plasma collected from patients who have recovered from an infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection — in this case patients who have fully recovered from COVID-19. More recently, some information suggests that convalescent plasma could help some coronavirus patients — especially those who are seriously ill.”

So, what exactly is Convalescent Plasma Donation? COVID-19 convalescent plasma is a type of blood donation collected from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. The convalescent plasma contains antibodies that might help patients actively fighting the virus.

Individuals who have fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis can sign up to donate by completing the Red Cross’s Donor Request form.

During a plasma donation, blood is drawn from an arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects your plasma and then safely and comfortably returns your red cells back to you, along with some saline. Because of this process, donating plasma does take longer than a regular whole blood donation.

In addition to plasma donations, The American Red Cross has a constant and ongoing need for blood and platelet donations. With the ongoing pandemic, the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to meet the needs of patient care. Please schedule your next donation appointment now to help prevent another blood shortage.

The American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. As part of that effort, plasma from whole blood donations that test positive for COVID-19 antibodies may now help current coronavirus patients in need of convalescent plasma transfusions. They are committed to helping others in meaningful ways during this pandemic.

The Red Cross is following FDA blood donation eligibility guidance for those who receive a COVID-19 vaccination, and deferral times may vary depending on the type of vaccine an individual receives. But there’s no deferral time if you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. If you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine, you’ll need to provide the manufacturer name when you come to donate. Upon vaccination, you should receive a card or printout indicating what COVID-19 vaccine was received, and we encourage you to bring that card with you to your next donation. The following eligibility guidelines apply to each COVID-19 vaccine received, including boosters:
– There is no deferral time for eligible blood donors who are vaccinated with an inactivated or RNA based COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer.
– Eligible blood donors who are vaccinated with a replication defective virus COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca or Janssen/J&J must wait two weeks before giving blood.
Eligible blood donors who do not know what type of COVID-19 vaccine they received must wait four weeks before giving blood.
– Individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

Regardless of the type of vaccine an individual receives, all donors must be symptom free and feeling well at the time of donation. If an individual is experiencing any symptoms from the COVID-19 vaccine, the Red Cross asks that they postpone their donation until they are feeling better.

Redcrossblood.org says, “Donating blood products is essential to community health and the need for blood products is constant. As part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, healthy individuals can still donate in areas that have issued shelter in place declarations or are operating under a phased reopening plan. The Red Cross follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need. As hospitals resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, donors are urged to give now to ensure blood products are readily available for patients.”

If you are eligible to donate, please consider doing so. Here are some upcoming blood drives in our area:

Monday, January 11, 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. – Montoursville Presbyterian Church, 900 Elm St., Montoursville.

Thursday, January 14, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. – Hampton Inn Williamsport, 140 Via Bella, Williamsport.

Tuesday and Wednesday, January 19 & 20, noon-6:00 p.m. – Penn College, Bush Campus Center, 1 College Ave., Williamsport.

Thursday, January 21, 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. – First Southern Baptist Church, 89 Kimble Hill Rd., Williamsport.

Monday, January 25, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. – St. Luke Lutheran Church, 1400 Market St., Williamsport.

Wednesday, January 27, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. – First United Methodist Church, 602 S. Market St., Muncy.

Friday, January 29, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. – Divine Providence Hospital, 1100 Grampian Blvd., Williamsport.

Just a reminder that you are eligible to donate blood if:
– You are in good general health and feeling well.
– Be at least 17 years old in most states (16 years old with parental consent in some states).
– Weigh at least 110 pounds. Additional weight requirements apply for donors 18 years old and younger and all high school donors.
– Have not donated blood in the last 56 days.

You can find a complete list of guidelines at redcrossblood.org.

Remember, you don’t need a special reason to give blood. You just need your own reason.
• Some give blood because we were asked by a friend.
• Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day.
• Some believe it is the right thing to do.
• Some do it for the free cookies and juice.

Everyone enjoys the great feeling of helping save lives! Your blood donation could save up to three lives with each pint donated. Now, with the convalescent plasma, you could help save even more lives — lives in desperate need while they recover from COVID.

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