YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The American Red Cross is encouraging people who have been diagnosed and recovered from COVID-19 to give plasma.
There is an emergency shortage of convalescent plasma, a potentially life-saving treatment for patients with COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, with the rising cases that we’ve seen over the last month, we’ve also seen a rise for this product. It’s actually doubled for us in terms of demands in the last month,” said Christy Peters with Red Cross.
People who have fully recovered and received a verified COVID-19 diagnosis are urged to donate by signing up on the American Red Cross website.
Convalescent plasma is plasma that is collected from patients who have recovered from infection and have antibodies that might help fight that infection – in this case, those who have fully recovered from COVID-19.
Each donation can help up to three patients recover from the virus.
Blood donations from everyone are also still needed.
“The need for blood is constant, even in the midst of this pandemic and so anyone who is feeling well and healthy, we need you to come and give,” said Peters.
Anyone can donate by going to a blood drive, but donating convalescent plasma is a little different.
Those who have recovered from COVID-19 are asked to fill out a form online. From there, someone will reach out to schedule an appointment.
Since April, the Red Cross has distributed nearly 20,000 units to different hospitals.
“We can’t get convalescent plasma any other way than those who have recovered. I’ve talked to some of these patients or these donors who have had COVID-19 who said, ‘I promised myself if I got through it and I was well, that I would do something to give back and this is a great way to do that,”‘ Peters said.
Donation appointments can be made for the coming days and weeks by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
As a thank you for helping ensure a stable blood supply, those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma, including convalescent plasma, Aug. 1-Sept. 3 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Amazon. Those who donate by Aug. 31 will be automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for four to Cedar Point or Knott’s Berry Farm, redeemable through the 2021 season.