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Donating during COVID-19: Q&A

As COVID-19 continues to affect people around the world, you may be wondering whether it’s still safe to donate blood stem cells or if you need to be vaccinated. We’ve invited Be The Match® Senior Vice President Erica Jensen and nurse Hannah Erskine, site manager of our Seattle collection center, to share what we’re doing to ensure the safety of our donors.

Watch the video above or read more below to get answers to top COVID-related donation questions.

Q: How safe is it to donate during COVID?

A: Donating blood stem cells was a safe procedure before COVID-19, and Be The Match has taken every effort to make sure that the donor remains safe throughout the donation process during the pandemic. Furthermore, there is no data or evidence that COVID-19 is transmissible by donating blood stem cells, and there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 transmission through the donation process.

Q: Tell me a little bit more about the precautions Be The Match is taking to ensure that donors have a safe experience.

A: Yes, really important question. Donors and staff both have their temperatures taken prior to entering the collection center to ensure they are asymptomatic. Donors and staff also wear masks other than when they're eating or drinking. Be The Match staff are taking efforts to minimize donor exposure to non-essential personnel as well.

Our apheresis suites [in Seattle] are made up of individual rooms and not open areas separated by partitions. Staff also follow strict cleaning protocols after each donation to ensure rooms are properly cleaned and maintained. And donor meals are provided by the center on day of donation.

Also, I'm speaking specifically [about] the Be The Match Seattle Collection Center, but many donation and/or collection centers in the network observe the same protocols and procedures.

Q: How long will these changes be kept in place?

A: We'll continue to follow CDC guidelines and will keep these precautions in place for as long as they're indicated, to keep donors safe. 

Q: Do donors need to be vaccinated? 

A: Donors do not need to be vaccinated, although it's highly encouraged. We also encourage donors to practice social distancing to keep themselves and their families healthy prior to donation.

Q: What if someone already had COVID? Can they donate? 

A: Yes, we get asked this question a lot. So, donors can donate if they've had COVID. They need to be fully recovered and not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, and at that time, they can donate.

If you have any other questions or concerns about donating, please reach out to our Public Response team at 1 (800) MARROW-2.

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