COVID-19 and Convalescent Plasma Donation

RECOVERED FROM COVID-19? Your plasma may help other patients.

Submit Interest Form 

We are temporarily deferring donors that have traveled outside the U.S. in the last 10 days. Travel to Baja, Mexico is acceptable.  


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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How can my plasma help other patients?

Plasma donated by those who have recovered from COVID-19 (called COVID convalescent plasma, or CCP) may help patients fighting COVID-19. This is because your body has developed antibodies against the virus. Historically, convalescent plasma has been successfully used to treat similar diseases such as the Spanish Flu, SARS, MERS, and H1N1.

How do I qualify to donate convalescent plasma?
The first step is to fill out a form at sandiegobloodbank.org/donateplasma to express interest. An SDBB team member will contact you for more information if you qualify. For questions, call (619) 400-8182.

You may qualify if you had:

  1. A positive diagnostic test and have not had symptoms for 28 days  
  2. A positive test, have not had symptoms for 14 days, and have a subsequent negative PCR test.


Donors must also meet the standard requirements for blood donation and will be screened at the time of donation.

Can I donate convalescent plasma if I have received the vaccine?   
You are eligible to donate convalescent plasma after receiving a vaccine if: 

  • You received the AstraZeneca, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax or Pfizer vaccine AFTER being diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • ​You had symptoms of COVID-19 and a positive diagnostic COVID-19 PCR test result and can provide a copy of those test results. Symptoms vary but could include, shortness of breath, cough, fever or chills, fatigue, headache, loss of smell/taste, nausea, diarrhea and body aches. Asymptomatic individuals are ineligible to donate convalescent plasma after receiving the vaccine.  ​

Please note:

  • If you are unsure of the name of the COVID-19 vaccine you received or if it is not listed above, you will be deferred from donation for 14 days. 
  • ​You are eligible to donate convalescent plasma if you received the COVID-19 vaccine after diagnosis of COVID-19 and are within 6 months after complete resolution of COVID-19 symptoms. If you are still experiencing loss of taste and smell, you may still be eligible to donate.  
  • ​If you are interested in donating convalescent plasma after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and/or have further questions, please call (619) 400-8182

Does getting the vaccine give you COVID-19 antibodies? 
After receiving the vaccine, you may test positive for antibodies; however, you are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma at this time unless you were diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to vaccination. Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax or Pfizer vaccine may donate whole blood, plasma, or platelets, which are greatly needed.

Where can I donate?
San Diego Blood Bank has locations throughout San Diego County. Once you are qualified, we will help you find a convenient location.

What if I don’t have a copy of my test results?
San Diego Blood Bank can work with your healthcare provider to obtain proper records.

How many people will my donation help?
Each plasma donation is usually 800-1000 mL and one dose for a COVID-19 patient is 200-250 mL. Your donation can help as many as 3-4 people fight this virus!

What is the process for donating plasma?
Plasma is donated through a process called apheresis. Your blood is collected and processed in real time to separate the plasma and return the rest of the blood components (red blood cells and platelets) back to you. The entire process, including registration and recovering in the canteen area for 15 minutes post donation takes approximately 75 minutes.

When I donate plasma do I lose all my antibodies that help my own immunity?
Much like regular blood and plasma donation, only some of the circulating antibodies are collected from COVID convalescent plasma (CCP) donation. The vast majority of cells which make antibodies are maintained by the donor. There is no clinical evidence to support an adverse impact on immunocompetence in blood donors. 

How often can I donate plasma?
Normal plasma donation intervals are every 4 weeks. Depending on how much is donated at one time, you may be able to donate convalescent plasma more frequently. San Diego Blood Bank will work with you directly to determine what is appropriate.

If I donate blood, will I be able to fight an infection later?
There is no research evidence that donating blood or plasma affects your ability to fight infection later. While white blood cells needed to fight infection slightly decrease after donation, abundant cells remain in the event of an infection. Furthermore, donated cells are regenerated post-donation. 

Are recipients at risk of contracting COVID-19 through donated blood?
There is no known risk of contracting COVID-19 from blood transfusions. Respiratory viruses are not known to be transmitted by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion transmission of this virus. Routine blood donor screening measures that are already in place should prevent individuals with clinical respiratory infections from donating blood. For example, blood donors must be in good health and have a normal temperature on the day of donation. 

How else can I help? 
Please consider volunteering to help ensure a healthy, safe and clean environment for our donors. Visit www.sandiegobloodbank.org/volunteers. You can also make a financial gift to support emergency preparedness such as freezer technology and critical supplies. Visit sandiegobloodbank.org/give

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