Can You Donate Blood After a COVID-19 Vaccine?

blood donor

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Key Takeaways

  • It is safe to give blood after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If you are healthy and not experiencing any side effects, you can donate blood in between COVID vaccine doses.

Health professionals want to assure the public that it is safe to donate blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, it's strongly encouraged, especially during the summer months when blood donation tends to be low.

The American Red Cross reports that a donor’s immune response to the vaccine will not be disrupted by giving blood and does not reduce the antibody protection against the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, it's OK to donate blood with antibodies from the vaccine.

The Red Cross also says that receiving a blood transfusion from someone who has had the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

“It is possible that a donor’s antibody developed in response to the vaccine could be passively transferred via transfusion," Pampee Young, MD, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross, tells Verywell. “However, they would constitute a very minor amount of passively-transferred antibody in comparison to the recipient’s overall levels of antibodies.”

What Are Antibodies?

Antibodies are proteins found on the surface of immune system called B cells. They can inactivate and help get rid of infection.

Blood Donation Eligibility

You are eligible to donate blood anytime after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. As long as you are feeling healthy and well, there is no wait time necessary between the shot and blood donation. 

According to the Red Cross, blood can also be donated in between the first and second vaccine doses as long as the recipient is not experiencing any side effects from the vaccine, such as muscle aches, headache, soreness, or fever. Blood donation can resume once side effects go away.

When You Should Not Donate Blood

Although giving blood is a great way to help those that are facing critical health situations, there are certain criteria that disqualify someone from donating blood either temporarily or permanently.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that you should not donate blood if you:

  • Are sick with the flu, sore throat, cold, or other infection 
  • Have had minor dental work done, you must wait 24 hours before donating
  • Have recently traveled to a country with a high risk of mosquito-borne infections 
  • Have engaged in “at risk” sexual behavior in the last 12 months
  • Tested positive for HIV
  • Have ever injected recreational drugs
  • Have given birth within the past nine months
  • Are breastfeeding

Convalescent Plasma Donation

Early in the pandemic, the antibodies from donated plasma obtained from those who recovered from COVID-19 (referred to as convalescent plasma) were thought to be beneficial in treating those with an active infection. However, recent studies have shown that this is not the case, and according to the American Red Cross, people who are vaccinated are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma at this time.

Different Types of Blood Donation

There are several different types of blood donation: whole blood, plasma, and platelets. Each type has its own specific eligibility requirements.

Whole Blood Donation

Whole blood contains red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma.

  • You can donate whole blood every 56 days
  • Most states require you to be 16 and older
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds

Platelet Donation

Platelets are the blood clotting components of blood and help the body stop bleeding when it is injured. Platelet donation is helpful for those that have cancer, chronic diseases, or have suffered a traumatic injury.

  • You can donate platelets every 7 days, up to 24 times a year
  • Most states require you to be 17 years and older
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds

AB Elite Plasma Donation 

AB blood is the universal blood type for plasma donation. The American Red Cross estimates that only 4% of the population has this blood type.  

During plasma donation, a machine collects the plasma from your blood and then returns the red blood cells and platelets back to your body. Plasma is beneficial to people with cancer, burns, and trauma patients.

  • You can donate AB elite plasma every 28 days, up to 13 times a year
  • You myst have AB-type blood
  • Most states require you to be 17 years and older
  • You must weigh at least 110 pounds

Why Blood Donation Is Important

Since there is not an artificial substitute for blood, physicians rely on blood donation to save the lives of approximately 4.5 million people each year.

Blood transfusions are used in surgery, for traumatic injuries, cancer patients, chronic diseases, and for those with blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia and hemophilia. 

Medical facilities rely on a consistent supply of blood from donors to meet the needs of its patients and to ensure they are prepared for emergencies.

What This Means For You

If you are healthy and feeling well, there is no reason you can't donate blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Red Cross. Joint Statement: Blood Donation Concerns Rise as Country Enters New Phase of the Pandemic.

  2. World Health Organization. Who can give blood.

  3. American Red Cross. When can I donate blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

  4. American Red Cross. Requirements by Donation Type.

  5. American Red Cross. AB Elite Plasma Donation.

By Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN
Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN, is a registered nurse with over six years of patient experience. She is a credentialed school nurse in California.