Come Back, Blood Donors! Zika deferrals only 28 days

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bloodmobile in Richmond Beach this Saturday

By Tom Petersen

Blood collections nationwide are down as much as 20% as precautionary measures to stop the spread of the Zika virus have deferred many willing or potential donors over the last 8 months.

Blood supplies in the Puget Sound region, like everywhere else, have dropped to "crisis" levels this summer.

The normal seasonal lull, added to the loss of locals that have travelled to Latin America and the Caribbean, and exacerbated by the humanitarian need to ship some blood products to Florida and Puerto Rico, where entire populations are in a state of perpetual ineligibility, has supplies of most blood types at "critical" levels.

Zika deferrals not long or permanent: Bloodworks Northwest is getting the word out that donors who have been deferred for recent travels to Zika-affected territories are only discouraged from giving blood for 28 days.  People who have not fallen ill during that window are safe to donate.  People who went abroad in the winter or spring can donate blood this summer.

Past deferrals may not permanently disqualify donors: People who have thought about or tried to donate blood but were asked not to for whatever reason -- travels to disease-ridden locales, low iron, sniffles, temporary or past use of certain medications, new tattoos -- are encouraged to come back. The standard questionnaire and consultation at the bloodmobile or donation center may well reveal that it's safe to donate again.

Deferred? Help find new donors: Past blood donors who, for whatever reason, can no longer give blood are encouraged to help recruit new donors. The number one inspiration for new blood donors is not posters, A-boards, or articles like this one, but the personal example of a friend or family member that can attest to the ease and importance of donating blood.

The need for blood is constant: Even with advanced surgical techniques that lesson the need for large transfusions for some surgeries, the need for blood never slackens for cancer patients, people with blood disorders, and the "misadventurous."

Air-conditioned Bloodmobile in Richmond Beach this Saturday: Bloodworks' mobile unit will be at its customary spot, in front of the Shoreline Fire Safety Center at the corner of Richmond Beach Road (195th) and 20th Ave NW, from 10am to 4pm Saturday, August 27.

Appointments are recommended but not necessary; walk-ups are welcome and encouraged.  All donors must have photo ID or a Bloodworks / Puget Sound Blood Center card. The bloodmobile is closed for lunch from noon to 1.

Make appointments online


Anonymous,  August 26, 2016 at 12:23 PM  

Does Bloodworks prohibit donors by gay men? Just wondrin'

DKH August 26, 2016 at 2:12 PM  

From Bloodworks FAQ page

Donor deferral, men who have sex with men (MSM)
Bloodworks Northwest and all other blood centers are governed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its mandates, which currently include an indefinite or lifetime deferral for blood donation by men who have had sex with other men (referred to as "MSM").

Current scientific testing is reliable and sensitive, ensuring that any communicable disease would be detected before blood is put in inventory. Since 2006, Bloodworks Northwest and other blood centers nationwide have urged the FDA to review and amend its deferral criteria for prospective male donors who have had sexual contact with another man to make them compatible and consistent with criteria for other groups at increased risk for sexual transmission of transfusion-transmitted infections. Recommended deferral periods for MSM range from one to five years, replacing the current lifetime deferral. Bloodworks Northwest continues to advocate for an FDA review of MSM criteria to align with similar at-risk donors, and with current medical and scientific knowledge.

You could call 1-800-398-7888 and ask to speak to a doctor for more information.

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