COLUMBIA, S.C. — April is National Volunteer Month and the American Red Cross is reminding the public that now is the perfect time to give blood. Healthy volunteer donors are needed every day to help keep the blood flowing for hospitals and patients that rely on a readily available blood supply.
If you have been putting off donating blood because of COVID-19 or the vaccine, experts with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) say that donating blood will not cause a loss of immunity for anyone who has been vaccinated. Also, unless you have experienced side effects from your vaccine, there is no deferral time post-vaccine for donors who have received any of the vaccines -- Pfizer, Moderna nor Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).
The Red Cross continues to urge healthy individuals, especially those with type O blood, to give blood to ensure hospitals can meet patient needs. Schedule a donation appointment by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
As a special thank-you, those who come to give by April 30 will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five $1,000 e-gift cards to a merchant of choice. Additional details are available at rcblood.org/Gift.
Health insights for donors
The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Testing may also identify the presence of antibodies developed after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Plasma from routine blood and platelet donations that test positive for high levels of antibodies may be used as convalescent plasma to meet potential future needs of COVID-19 patients. Convalescent plasma is a type of blood product collected from COVID-19 survivors who have antibodies that may help patients who are actively fighting the virus.
The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is also screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive antibody test and sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including temperature checks, social distancing and face masks for donors and staff – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive and are required to wear a face mask while at the drive, in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention public guidance.
Here are the blood donation opportunities in the Midlands, April 16-30:
- 4/16/2021: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Denmark Technical College, 500 Soloman Blatt Blvd.
- 4/21/2021: 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Camden High School, 1022 Ehrenclou Drive
- 4/26/2021: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Kershaw Health, 1315 Roberts Street
- 4/27/2021: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Bridge Creek Elementary School, 121 Bombing Range Road
- 4/22/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Lugoff Elgin High School, Hwy 1
- 4/25/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Our Lady Of the Lake Catholic Church, 195 Amick Ferry Road
- 4/19/2021: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Willow Ridge Church, 104 Sycamore Tree Road
- 4/22/2021: 3 p.m. - 8 p.m., Lexington Presbyterian Church, 246 Barr Rd.
- 4/18/2021: 11:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Mt Hermon Lutheran Church, 3011 Leaphart Road
- 4/30/2021: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community, One Still Hopes Drive
- 4/19/2021: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Blythewood Presbyterian Church, 441 Rimer Pond Rd
- 4/21/2021: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Blythewood Park, 126 Boney Rd
- 4/16/2021: 6:45 a.m. - 2 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/16/2021: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Vive Church, 2630 Clemson Road
- 4/17/2021: 6:45 a.m. - 2 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/17/2021: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Rehoboth United Methodist Church, 6911 Two Notch Rd
- 4/18/2021: 6:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/19/2021: 11:45 a.m. - 7 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/20/2021: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., VA Medical Center, 6439 Garners Ferry Road
- 4/20/2021: 11:45 a.m. - 7 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/21/2021: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., VA Medical Center, 6439 Garners Ferry Road
- 4/21/2021: 11:45 a.m. - 7 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/22/2021: 9:45 a.m. - 5 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/22/2021: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Red Cross, 2751 Bull Street
- 4/23/2021: 6:45 a.m. - 2 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/24/2021: 6:45 a.m. - 2 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/25/2021: 6:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/26/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Ridge View High School, 4801 Hardscrabble Road
- 4/26/2021: 11:45 a.m. - 7 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/27/2021: 11:45 a.m. - 7 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/28/2021: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., Richland Two Institute of Innovation, 763 Fashion Dr.
- 4/28/2021: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Leeza's Care Connection, 201 St Andrews Rd.
- 4/28/2021: 11:45 a.m. - 7 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/28/2021: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m., Prisma Health Richland Hospital, 3301 Harden Street
- 4/29/2021: 9:45 a.m. - 5 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/29/2021: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Junior League of Columbia Inc, 2926 Devine St.
- 4/30/2021: 6:45 a.m. - 2 p.m., Columbia Blood Donation Center, 2751 Bull St
- 4/30/2021: 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Polo Road Park, 730 Polo Rd.
- 4/20/2021: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Clark's Termite & Pest Control, 405 Western Ln
- 4/28/2021: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., River Springs Church, 1007 West Shady Grove Rd.
- 4/30/2021: 11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Ballentine Community Center, 1009 Bickley Rd.
- 4/27/2021: 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., Thomas Sumter Academy, 5265 Camden Highway
- 4/26/2021: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Health Sciences Center, 133 South Main Street, CCTC- Health Science Building
- 4/26/2021: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Veritas Church, 822 S. Guignard
- 4/29/2021: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m., Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 211 Alice Drive
- 4/29/2021: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Grace Baptist Church, 219 West Calhoun St.
About blood donation
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.