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Coronavirus vaccine does not prevent blood donation

5/10/2021 10:15

Being vaccinated against coronavirus does not prevent you from donating blood. If you have a strong reaction to the vaccine (such as severe pain or fever), you will need to wait for two days after the symptoms have disappeared before donating blood.

​Other commonly administered vaccines do not prevent blood donation either. These include pneumococcal vaccine and vaccines against whooping cough, influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, hepatitis A and tick-borne encephalitis.

Vaccines such as the varicella vaccine, the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine, as well as the hepatitis A and B combination vaccine will result in a blood donation deferral period of four weeks.

Coronavirus vaccination and blood transfusions

Based on the structure and mechanism of action of coronavirus vaccines, there are no safety concerns regarding the blood donated by people who have been vaccinated. The vaccines do not contain SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 or any fractions of the virus. The so-called viral vector vaccines do not contain any disease-causing or viable viruses either. 

Vaccine adjuvants rapidly move from the injection site to the neighbouring muscle cells and lymphocytes in the lymph nodes, and are therefore unlikely (if at all) to end up in the bloodstream. The RNA in the vaccines also breaks down rapidly in the body. 

Because of the way donated blood is processed, blood products contain very little plasma. The white blood cells have been removed by filtration, which further reduces the possibility of any traces of the vaccine passing into blood products. Once the vaccine has produced antibodies, a small amount of these is transferred to the blood recipient together with the small amount of plasma in the product, but this is not enough to protect the patient. 

Do other countries employ deferral periods after vaccination against coronavirus?

The Blood Service is closely monitoring the international discussion and expert advice relating to vaccination against coronavirus. None of the coronavirus vaccines approved by the European Union involve any specific safety precautions regarding blood donations and blood transfusions. If the vaccination causes symptoms, blood donation should be avoided for a couple of days. 

Some countries require a short deferral period between coronavirus vaccination and blood donation. These deferral periods are in place because it may be difficult to determine whether any symptoms (such as fever) are due to the vaccination or just illness and thus to decide what measures should be taken regarding the donated blood. 

The Blood Service is not aware of any longer deferral periods or permanent disqualifications from donating blood in any countries after vaccination against coronavirus.