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Coronavirus and blood donation

The Blood Service continues to operate during the emergency to provide patients with blood products every day. We have collected the information concerning the coronavirus and blood donation on this webpage.

At the moment all donation sites are open for the donors who have booked an appointment:
https://www.bloodservice.fi/blood-donation/services-for-blood-donors/book-an-appointment1

You can book an appointment to blood donation here.

Please complete the electronic health questionnaire here the day before or the same day as the planned blood donation.


Changes to the eligibility of blood donors:

  • If you did not have a fever, you can donate as soon as you have been completely symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
  • If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, you need to wait at least 14 days before donating blood. A severe infection that has required hospital treatment results in a 3-month deferral time.
  • Also a close contact with a patient with corona virus infection confirmed by laboratory tests (family member, person in the same household) or if you are health care personnel caring for these patients, will result in a 14-day deferral from blood donation.
  • From June 15th onwards there will not be a waiting period after travelling to Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. A waiting period of at least 14 days will still be set for everyone else returning to Finland.
  • We are unable to allow donors with symptoms of a cold into the donation area, so during the pandemic you will not be able to donate blood if you have symptoms of hay fever. If your allergy is asymptomatic due to medication, you are welcome to donate blood.

We continue to care about the safety of blood donors even in exceptional circumstances. As such, we have changed some practices at blood donation sites.​

  • From June 29th 2020 children, a friend or an escort are allowed to accompany donors if there is enough room at the donation site regarding of safety distances.
  • Blood donors are immediately checked upon arrival to confirm that they do not have any flu-like symptoms. If you have symptoms of hay fever you will not be able to donate blood neither.
  • Face masks and protective gloves must be removed when you arrive at the donation session. Read more
  • Each donor is directed to wash or disinfect their hands upon arrival.
  • Restrictions will be in place to limit the number of people attending the blood service point at the same time.
  • We advise that a distance of at least one metre should be kept from other donors attending the blood service point.
  • We have increased the level of cleaning at our premises and our staff have been instructed to stay at home if they have any flu-like symptoms.
  •  It is essential that healthy people continue to donate blood. Severely ill patients and others in dire need, such as victims of accidents, need blood products on a daily basis during the epidemic period.

Details on the current blood service points and their opening hours can be found here:
https://www.bloodservice.fi/blood-donation/donate-blood/where-can-you-donate

Please complete the electronic health questionnaire here the day before or the same day as the planned blood donation.


You can also find our updates in Facebook and Twitter (mostly in Finnish).

Q&A

Is it possible to donate blood during the epidemic?

Yes. The Blood Service operates normally regardless of the emergency. It is crucial that healthy people continue to donate blood so that patients can have access to the blood products they need. 

Do you test blood donors for the coronavirus?

Testing blood donors for COVID-19 is not necessary.  No bloodborne COVID-19 infections have been reported. Donors must naturally be completely well, without any symptoms.

Do I need to schedule an appointment?

At the moment the Blood Service donation sites are open primarily for the donors who have booked an appointment. You can do it here. With this measure, we can limit the number of donors present at the service point at any one time. If the appointments schedule is full, please book an appointment for another day. Blood is needed by patients every weekday.

Why are blood donation events being cancelled?

Unfortunately, we have been forced to cancel some blood donation events during the epidemic, e.g. because of a lack of suitable premises. Please check our up-to-date opening hours before coming to donate: https://www.bloodservice.fi/blood-donation/donate-blood/where-can-you-donate

How soon can I donate blood after my flu symptoms have gone away?

If you did not have a fever, you can donate as soon as you have been completely symptom-free for at least 24 hours. If you had a fever or were diagnosed with COVID-19, you need to wait at least 14 days before donating blood. A severe infection that has required hospital treatment results in a 3-month deferral time.

I have hay fever. Can I donate?

During the pandemic, you will not be able to donate blood if you are symptomatic, because we are unable to allow donors with symptoms of a cold into the donation area. If your allergy is asymptomatic due to medication, you are welcome to donate blood.

How soon can I donate blood after close contact to a corona patient?

A close contact with a patient (family member, person in the same household, health care personnel caring for these patients) with corona virus infection confirmed by laboratory tests will result in a 14-day deferral from blood donation.

Is donating blood dangerous during the epidemic?

We take care of the safety of our blood donors. Our preparations for the pandemic are listed here. Only healthy people with no symptoms of flu are allowed to donate blood. Donating blood does not lower your resistance to infection.

Has the coronavirus caused any new restrictions related to foreign travel?

From June 15th onwards there will not be a waiting period after travelling to Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. A waiting period of at least 14 days will still be set for everyone else returning to Finland. Those returning from other parts of the world cannot donate blood for at least 28 days.

How can I find out my blood group? Does my blood group affect my risk of catching coronavirus?

You do not need to find out your blood group on account of coronavirus. If they wish, blood donors can inquire about their blood group by calling: Free Donor Helpline +358 (0)800 05801 (Mon–Fri 8:00am–5:00pm). The Blood Service will not examine blood groups to ascertain the risk of coronavirus.

The most recent analysis of a major international research project coordinated by FIMM (Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland) researchers did not confirm the suspected effect of blood groups on the risk of contracting the coronavirus disease. A specific gene-rich region in chromosome 3 does, however, appear to be a clear risk factor. Further studies are needed to fully understand the biological mechanism involved.

 

In Denmark, antibody tests for coronavirus are already being carried out on blood donors. When will Finland start testing blood donors?

Many countries have begun or are beginning antibody testing, which aims to find out how much of the population has had coronavirus, possibly without being aware of the illness. Blood services in Europe are involved in the testing. The Biobank is actively working with the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) to coordinate national projects. Currently, there is no equivalent to the Danish model under way in Finland. However, the situation with regard to coronavirus research can change rapidly, and we will report any news that is applicable to the Blood Service.

Why aren't the personnel using surgical masks at blood donation sessions?

Coronavirus spreads via droplet transmission when a symptomatic person coughs or sneezes, and the droplets fly into another person's mouth, nose or eyes. Contact transmission via the hands is possible, if hand hygiene is insufficient and this causes the virus to spread into the mouth, nose or eyes.

Many healthcare professionals are now wearing respirators during the epidemic. This is important because they deal with and treat sick patients. Blood Service staff only come to work if they are healthy, and donors are also healthy and asymptomatic.

Very advanced hand hygiene and other precautions to prevent the risk of infection are in place at blood donation sessions. We are minimising close contact by ensuring that there are as few people in the space as possible at one time.

Why aren't blood donors allowed to use face masks or protective gloves at blood donation?

Face masks must be removed when entering the donation centre, as they must be removed in any case in order to identify the blood donor, during the blood donation and so that the donor can drink as recommended before and after the donation. The more often you touch the mask, the greater the chance is of the mask itself spreading potential viruses.

Protective gloves must also be removed when you arrive at the donation centre. Washing or sanitising your hands when you arrive, before drinking coffee, and when you leave is an effective way to prevent the potential risk of infection via the hands. You do not need to use protective gloves in the blood donation centre, because folders and pens, for example, are only touched with clean hands.

29.6.2020
Escorts are allowed to accompany blood donors again

16.6.2020
Travel restrictions on blood donations are being eased

6.4.2020
Book an appointment to blood donation around Easter

3.4.2020
Blood Service researchers are investigating individual susceptibility to coronavirus infection

31.3.2020
Making an appointment to donate blood during the coronavirus pandemic

24.3.2020
Book appointment to blood donation

19.3.2020
Precautionary measures taken by the Finnish Blood Service during the pandemic

18.3.2020

Blood donors needed during the COVID-19 epidemic - Updates to the list of conditions preventing donation

16.3.2020
Blood donors are still needed during the epidemic