Red Cross Lifeblood is responsible for managing all collection centres within Australia. After a huge drop in appointments during COVID-19 they have issued a call to arms – literally a call for us to stick out our arms and donate blood. Are you able to answer the call? Let’s explore why you should donate now, who is eligible and where to go if you can. 

Before we jump in, it’s important to note that there is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 is transmissible via blood transfusion and Lifeblood’s strict screening process means they don’t allow people feeling at all unwell to donate in any circumstance. At donor centres several measures have been implemented to keep donors and staff safe, including increased cleaning and social distancing where possible. 

You should not give blood if you are feeling unwell or are following state government guidelines on self-isolation.

Why donate now?

Novel coronavirus hasn’t stopped the demand for essential blood products. Around 29,000 donations are needed per week to help patients including road trauma patients, surgical patients, medical and orthopaedic patients, pregnant mums and cancer patients. Lifeblood currently has over 10,000 unfilled appointments over the coming weeks that need to be filled.

Normal donation rates have dropped significantly in recent weeks. And as blood only lasts 42 days, it’s not like toilet paper, you can’t stockpile for later. A surge in donations around the time of the bushfire crisis also means those donors now can’t donate again for another 12 weeks. Add to this a high number of last-minute cancellations, increased eligibility requirements and self-isolation guidelines for high risk groups and you can see why more donors are essential.

Reassuringly, the stay at home recommendation does not apply. Attending an appointment to give blood is considered an essential activity and exempt from restrictions as outlined by Lifeblood Chief Executive Shelly Park.

“Donating blood and plasma remains an essential activity to keep blood flowing to patients across the country, and travel and venue restrictions do not prevent you from giving blood – we need you now more than ever.”

And if we are still yet to convince you, donating is sure to make you feel like a hero and the free snacks are pretty fun too.