The Red Cross follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and volunteer donors are the only source of blood for those in need. As hospitals resume surgical procedures and patient treatments that were temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, donors are urged to give now to ensure blood products are readily available for patients.
The top priority of the Red Cross is the safety of our donors, volunteers, employees and blood recipients, and we are committed to transparency with the American public during this evolving public health emergency. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus.
Donating blood products is essential to community health and eligible donors are strongly urged to donate now. The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation – and who meet other eligibility requirements.
At each blood drive or donation center, Red Cross employees follow thorough safety protocols, including:
- Wearing gloves and changing them often
- Wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection
- Using sterile collection sets for every donation
- Preparing the arm for donation with aseptic scrub
- Conducting donor mini-physicals to ensure donors are healthy and well on day of donation
We have also increased our vigilance concerning some of these safety protocols including:
- Enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment
- Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering and throughout the donation appointment
- Following social distancing practices between donors including donor beds, as well as waiting and refreshment areas
- During this time, blankets typically used by platelet, Power Red and AB Elite donors at Red Cross blood donation centers will be laundered after each use, which may limit the availability. Donors are encouraged to bring their own blankets, but electric blankets and heating pads are not permitted.
- The Red Cross follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. For the safety of our donors and staff, the Red Cross requires all those at blood drives and blood donation centers wear a face mask regardless of their vaccination status. Valve face masks are not permitted. Face shields can be worn in addition to face masks but not as a substitute.
To ensure our staff are healthy each day, we have implemented standard staff health assessments prior to all blood drives.
Finally, only eligible and healthy people are allowed to give blood.
These mitigation measures will help ensure blood recipient safety, as well as staff and donor safety in reducing contact with those who may potentially have this respiratory infection.
The American Red Cross , also known as The American National Red Cross, is a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief, and disaster preparedness education in the United States. It is the designated US affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the United States movement to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
The organization offers services and development programs.
Clara Barton established American Red Cross in Dansville, NY, on May 21, 1881. She became its first president. Barton organized a meeting on May 12 of that year at the house of Senator Omar D. Conger . Fifteen people were at the meeting, including Barton, Conger and Representative William Lawrence . The first local chapter was established in 1881 at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dansville.
A blood type is a classification of blood, based on the presence and absence of antibodies and inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells . These antigens may be proteins, carbohydrates, glycoproteins, or glycolipids, depending on the blood group system. Some of these antigens are also present on the surface of other types of cells of various tissues. Several of these red blood cell surface antigens can stem from one allele and collectively form a blood group system. Blood types are inherited and represent contributions from both parents. As of 2019, a total of 41 human blood group systems are recognized by the International Society of Blood Transfusion . The two most important blood group systems are ABO and Rh; they determine someone's blood type for suitability in blood transfusion.
Blood group AB individuals have both A and B antigens on the surface of their RBCs, and their blood plasma does not contain any antibodies against either A or B antigen. Therefore, an individual with type AB blood can receive blood from any group , but cannot donate blood to any group other than AB. They are known as universal recipients. Blood group A individuals have the A antigen on the surface of their RBCs, and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the B antigen. Therefore, a group A individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups A or O , and can donate blood to individuals with type A or AB.
Blood group B individuals have the B antigen on the surface of their RBCs, and blood serum containing IgM antibodies against the A antigen. Therefore, a group B individual can receive blood only from individuals of groups B or O , and can donate blood to individuals with type B or AB.
Blood group O individuals do not have either A or B antigens on the surface of their RBCs, and their blood serum contains IgM anti-A and anti-B antibodies. Therefore, a group O individual can receive blood only from a group O individual, but can donate blood to individuals of any ABO blood group . If a patient needs an urgent blood transfusion, and if the time taken to process the recipient's blood would cause a detrimental delay, O negative blood can be issued. Because it is compatible with anyone, O negative blood is often overused and consequently is always in short supply. According to the American Association of Blood Banks and the British Chief Medical Officer's National Blood Transfusion Committee, the use of group O RhD negative red cells should be restricted to persons with O negative blood, women who might be pregnant, and emergency cases in which blood-group testing is genuinely impracticable.
In transfusions of packed red blood cells, individuals with type O Rh D negative blood are often called universal donors. Those with type AB Rh D positive blood are called universal recipients. However, these terms are only generally true with respect to possible reactions of the recipient's anti-A and anti-B antibodies to transfused red blood cells, and also possible sensitization to Rh D antigens. One exception is individuals with hh antigen system who can only receive blood safely from other hh donors, because they form antibodies against the H antigen present on all red blood cells. Blood donors with exceptionally strong anti-A, anti-B or any atypical blood group antibody may be excluded from blood donation. In general, while the plasma fraction of a blood transfusion may carry donor antibodies not found in the recipient, a significant reaction is unlikely because of dilution.
Additionally, red blood cell surface antigens other than A, B and Rh D, might cause adverse reactions and sensitization, if they can bind to the corresponding antibodies to generate an immune response. Transfusions are further complicated because platelets and white blood cells have their own systems of surface antigens, and sensitization to platelet or WBC antigens can occur as a result of transfusion.
For transfusions of plasma, this situation is reversed. Type O plasma, containing both anti-A and anti-B antibodies, can only be given to O recipients. The antibodies will attack the antigens on any other blood type. Conversely, AB plasma can be given to patients of any ABO blood group, because it does not contain any anti-A or anti-B antibodie