BLOOD DONATIONS AND THE CORONAVIRUS
Are you a blood donor and do you have questions regarding the coronavirus and the precautions to be observed? Below, we answer all your questions.
THE COLLECTIONS ARE SAFE
We are putting extra safety measures in place (see question 2). So please do not stop coming out to donate blood. We need your blood, now more than ever!
I have been INFECTED WITH THE COVID 19 VIRUS
You are allowed to donate blood subject to certain conditions (see question "Am I allowed to donate blood if I’ve been infected with the coronavirus?").
WILL I BE SCREENED?
We are not screening for the coronavirus. There are no known cases whereby a respiratory infection is transmitted through the blood. Meanwhile, we are taking part in a study aimed at investigating the spread of the disease among the population at large (see below).
I'm back from a red or orange area
You have to wait 28 days after returning from (of at least 48 hours) an area marked as « red » or « orange ».
The list of red and orange areas is available online on the Foreign Affairs website and updated daily : https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en
I received an invitation to attend my regular collection. Is my collection going ahead?
If you usually donate at a permanent blood collection centre, from now on you will need to make an online appointment (here).
If you usually donate at a mobile collection point, there is no need to make a prior appointment (unless there is a link to sign up): come in at any time at the collection location. However, we strongly recommend that you check our Collection Rounds agenda to find out if your collection is going ahead.
Are the blood collections safe?
Yes. In addition to the hygiene measures which are part and parcel of our normal procedures anyway, we have implemented specific additional measures:
- Observance of the social distancing rule of at least 1.5 metres
- Disinfection of small equipment and surfaces (tables, door handles, etc.)
- Compulsory hand washing for all people present
- Mask is mandatory and staff is required to also wear gloves
Outside the collection location, posters have been put up reiterating these precautionary measures
Do I have to wear a mask?
Yes. Face masks are mandatory, starting on May 4th. in order to ensure maximal safety for the health of donors and staff members. You should, preferably, use your own mask. If you don't have one, we will provide you with a single use mask.
Don't forget to respect physical distances and to apply barrier gestures such as handwashing. Those measures remain a priority in the battle against the pandemic.
I think I may be at greater risk of complications because of the coronavirus. Can I come out to donate blood?
If you believe you may be more susceptible to the coronavirus (e.g. if you are aged above 65, have chronic respiratory problems, asthma, etc.), the national recommendations are for you to self-isolate (stay at home) during the lockdown. For this reason, we would advise against you coming out to make your way to a collection to donate blood for now.
Will I be screened for the coronavirus?
No. We do not screen for the coronavirus. There are no known cases whereby a respiratory infection is transmitted through the blood. We do not perform screening tests by taking swabs.
What I should look out for before coming out to the collection location?
In addition to the usual contraindications, new contraindications have come to light that are specific to the coronavirus.
Do not come out to the collection location / a blood donation centre and wait for 28 days if:
• You have been diagnosed as COVID 19-positive. The 28-day period starts after the symptoms have disappeared and/or the treatment has ended.
• If you have one or several of the following symptoms:
- Fever > 38°c
- Difficulty breathing
- Aggravated chronic respiratory problems
- Dry cough
- Loss of taste and/or smell
• If you have been in close contact with someone who has been confirmed as being infected with the COVID 19 virus
- Any of the persons you live with
- Home environment
- Physical contact as part of the delivery of care involving aerosol-generating procedures
• After returning from (of at least 48 hours) an area marked as « red » or « orange ». The list of red and orange areas is available online on the Foreign Affairs website and updated daily : https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en
• Wait 14 days if you have one or several of the following symptoms:
- infection of the upper and/or lower respiratory tracts (common cold, sore throat, sinus infection, ear infection, laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis, etc.),
- flu-like symptoms (aches, shivers, muscle and joint pain, headaches),
- acute gastroenteritis.
Am I allowed to donate blood if I’ve been infected with the coronavirus?
Yes, but only from 28 days after all the symptoms have disappeared and/or from 28 days after your treatment has ended.
I heard you are looking for plasma donors for a therapy for the coronavirus. How can I help?
The plasma from patients who have recovered from the COVID virus carries antibodies, which could well prove to be a rewarding therapeutic alternative for treating patients who are still fighting the disease. However, this opportunity is currently still being investigated.
Against this background, and in cooperation with various hospitals, the Belgian Red Cross has started to collect plasma from donors who have recovered from the coronavirus.
You have been infected with COVID 19 and have totally recovered ?
You made a test confirming that you were infected and are ready to give your plasma to help patients still infected by the COVID 19 ?
Please contact 081 58 59 88 or go on www.PlasmaCovid19.be.
I have donated blood, plasma or platelets less than a week ago and I’m not feeling very well. What should I do?
If you feel you have any symptoms (even symptoms that are not related to the COVID 19 virus), or a piece of information which you did not or forgot to tell the doctor, please immediately call the “post-donation” phone number you were given at the time of your donation. The duty doctor taking your call will assess the situation, advise you on what to do and, if necessary, have the blood bag in question destroyed.
I’m unable to donate blood but I would like to support the Red Cross teams. How do I go about this?
You can become a Red Cross volunteer.
Your moral support means a lot and is every bit as welcome! Send us your messages, drawings, photos or videos at firstname.lastname@example.org and we distribute them around among our staff. With your permission, we will publish some messages on our Facebook page as to encourage other expressions of support.
- I have other questions that are not addressed on this page.
Look after yourself and the people around you
A big thank you to all donors and all members of staff at the SFS for their efforts in the face of the current crisis!