Foreseeing shortage of blood following guidelines for blood donation from a donor only after completing 28 days from vaccination, blood banks in Mysuru are making frantic efforts to stock blood units before the vaccination is rolled out for 18 years and above from May 1.
Post-COVID-19, blood donation faced stiff challenges and blood banks were overcoming it gradually after the cases started to drop last year.
The ongoing curbs over the alarming COVID-19 second wave have come in the way of organising blood donation camps, which has further hit ongoing efforts for stocking up blood.
Also, the resurgent COVID-10 pandemic has been deterring donors from volunteering to donate blood visiting the blood banks which they used to do earlier.
The blood banks have a one-week window to stock the units for emergencies and therefore, they have stepped up efforts to maximise donation from people aged between 18 and 45, before they get vaccinated next month on. Blood can also be donated by a person after he or she has recovered from COVID-19 infection, after fulfilling certain conditions.
The National Blood Transfusion Council of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued guidelines on blood donation by a vaccinated person.
"We are in constant touch with colleges, NGOs and volunteers with requests for urgent blood donation as we are not supposed to draw blood from a person unless he or she completed 28 days from the day of vaccination. There could be a shortage for a few days as 18 years and above will soon be covered under vaccination. We are trying our best to muster units anticipating shortfall," said B.S. Manjunath, blood bank officer, K.R. Hospital (KRH), MMCRI, Mysuru.
Donors age group
Dr. Manjunath told The Hindu that the blood bank was distributing 45-60 units of blood daily and sometimes even more to KRH and other hospitals. The maximum number of blood donors were those aged between 18 and 45.
"Notices have been put up across all hospitals, colleges and service organisations with a request for voluntary blood donation before vaccination, which is essential for protection from the virus. On social media platforms too we have made the requests. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping to mobilise a maximum number of units," he said.
The KRH blood bank managed to get 75 units of blood out of 100 identified for donation at Hunsur, which was organised recently by SVYM, an NGO, as the rest did not qualify for donation. "Any number of people aged above 18 can come to our blood bank and donate before the vaccination. All safety precautions are in place and there is no reason to fear," he appealed.
People interested in donating blood can do it even during COVID-19 weekend curfew with the blood banks ready to facilitate donation and donors can show certificates to authorities upon donation.
From May 1, a few more questions will be added in the blood banks' questionnaire before drawing blood on whether the donor was vaccinated or not, if yes when was the jab taken and whether he or she has completed 28 days after immunisation.
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