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FDA Updates Donor Eligibility Criteria Expanding Blood Donor Pool

FDA Updates Regarding Donor Eligibility Criteria 

A blood donor’s eligibility to donate blood and blood components is determined in part by a physical assessment and the donor’s answers to questions concerning medical history and risk factors associated with exposure to, or clinical evidence of a relevant transfusion-transmitted infection, and other conditions that may adversely affect the heatlh of the donor or the safety, purity, or potency of the blood or blood components or any product manufactured from the blood or blood components. 

This update includes significant changes to deferrals for blood donors who were previously deferred for geographic risk for Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD) and donors previously deferred for receipt of a blood transfusion in the United Kingdom, France or Ireland.  

If you were permanently deferred in the past, you may be eligible to donate blood as long as you also meet all other donor eligibility requirements. Please call (619) 400-8251 with any questions regarding blood donor eligibility and the process to removing a permanent deferral. 

Updated FDA Guidance on Blood Donor Deferrals

As of July 18, 2022, the deferral updates below are effective for all blood donors. 

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD or Mad Cow) related donor deferral update 

People who lived in certain European countries for 3 months to 5 years or more from 1980 to the present will no longer be deferred. See below: 

  • Individuals who lived for 3 months or more cumulatively in the United Kingdom countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands from 1980 through 1996, will no longer be deferred. 

  • Individuals who received a blood transfusion from 1980 to present while living in United Kingdom countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands, will no longer be deferred. 

  • Individuals who have spent 3 months or more cumulatively in France or Ireland, will no longer be deferred. 

  • Individuals who lived for 5 years or more in France or Ireland from 1980–2001, will no longer be deferred.  

NOTE: France includes the island of Corsica. France does not include the overseas departments of French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Réunion. Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) does not include Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK).

How do I know if I am eligible to donate blood after these updates?

For donors who have a current permanent deferral for vCJD, and would like to re-instate or update donor status call (619) 400-8251 to speak to a Donor Specialist. Please do not attempt to donate at a blood drive prior to getting a  permanent deferral removed. Permanent deferrals can only be adjusted by a manager at our fixed-site locations. 

I have not attempted to donate blood because of the vCJD / Mad Cow deferral. Can I donate blood?

For first-time donors who have not donated blood due to this travel restriction and do not have a permanent deferral on record, you may be eligible to donate blood as long as you also meet all other donor eligibility requirements. Find a location to donate blood

For additional support, please email donorservices@sdbb.org. Read frequently asked questions about blood donation

Thank you for your patience and we are so excited to welcome more blood donors to the lifesaving family. 

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FDA Guidance for Industry: Recommendations to Reduce the Possible Risk of Transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease by Blood and Blood Components, issued in May 2022 

Last FDA Guidance Update : 2020 FDA Updates to Donor Eligibility