The Community Blood Center (CBC) announces today the implementation of the revised blood donor qualifications released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In April 2020, to ensure a reliable blood supply because of COVID-19, the FDA changed certain qualifications for blood donation related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, malaria-risk travel and expanded eligibility for prospective donors, including men who have sexual contact with other men and other changes associated with HIV risk. The modified eligibility criteria related to these topics had been in process; however, COVID-19 has accelerated the conversations and the FDA’s approval of the criteria adjustments.
The new blood donation criteria cover three primary areas:
- Deferrals are lifted for those who have spent time in areas of Europe or on European military bases, as some of these countries are no longer considered a risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or variant CJD, also known as “Mad Cow Disease.”
- Deferrals for certain prospective donors have been reduced from 12 months to 3 months, including:
- Men who have sexual contact with other men
- Blood transfusion recipients
- Accidental blood exposures
- Tattoos and body piercings not from a state-regulated establishment
- Deferrals reduced from 12 months to 3 months for those who have traveled to Malaria-risk areas.
“We have always been supportive of the changes to blood donor eligibility criteria that is supported by science and can be managed through rigorous testing to ensure the safety of the blood supply,” John Hagins, President and CEO, The Community Blood Center, said. “We are appreciative that the FDA escalated these eligibility changes amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we’re pleased to announce the implementation of the revised blood donor qualifications so we can work with more people willing to serve hospitals and patients.”
All blood collected and used for transfusions goes through a rigorous preparation process with at least 13 tests conducted to ensure its safety and the safety to the patient receiving it.
CBC has now implemented all necessary internal processes to welcome donors who meet these new eligibility criteria. Donors who have questions about eligibility should call (800) 280-4102.
COVID-19 and summer both present many challenges for blood donation. Healthy and eligible individuals, including first-time donors, are encouraged to schedule an appointment at www.communityblood.org or by calling (800) 280-4102.
EDITORS NOTE: For the safety of donors and staff, visitors to The Community Blood Center must complete a Health Declaration Form and be approved prior to entry to any of the blood center’s facilities. Please contact Rachel Sonnentag to arrange media interviews. Video interviews are encouraged.