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Pune: Blood banks appeal to those in age group of 18 to 44 years to donate blood before getting Covid vaccine

They have expressed concern over regulations stating that those who get the jab cannot donate blood or blood products for 28 days after getting the jab, which may lead to shortage of blood.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
May 2, 2021 11:08:41 pm
Blood banks, blood donors, Covid-19 India Second Wave, vaccination, pune covid-19 vaccine, pune coronavirus vaccination, india news, indian expressBlood banks, on the whole, have seen a dip in donors since the pandemic broke out. (Express Photo by Praveen Khanna/Representational)

Several doctors and blood banks have appealed to people to donate their blood before being vaccinated against Covid-19, even as the third phase of vaccination has begun for those in the age group of 18 to 44 years across limited centres across the state. They have expressed concern over regulations stating that those who get the jab cannot donate blood or blood products for 28 days after getting the jab, which may lead to shortage of blood.

Regulations in India stipulate that a person cannot donate blood or blood products for a month after getting the Covid-19 vaccine. This regulation is likely to result in shortage of blood and blood products at many blood banks in the country, said Dr C S Pramesh, Director of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

National Blood Transfusion Council has said blood banks should not receive blood or blood products from people within 28 days of getting either dose of the vaccine. Most blood donors are in the age group of 18 to 44 years, which is now eligible for vaccination from May 1.

This deferral period of 28 days is longer than what is stipulated by other regulatory bodies across the world. Guidelines from World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended a deferral period of 14 to 28 days only, in case of live attenuated vaccines. But the two vaccines in India are not live attenuated and doctors have said deferral period should be reduced to 14 days.

“Can National Blood Transfusion Council change this, as we will face a blood/blood product shortage soon?” Dr Pramesh has also tweeted. Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) at Varanasi has also said it has urged people, aged between 18 and 45, to donate blood before getting vaccinated.

“Our blood bank has reported stark shortage of blood and its components owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, many patients suffering from emergency medical conditions are unable to continue their treatment,” TMC at Varanasi has tweeted.

In Pune too, several blood banks attached to hospitals have appealed for blood donation before vaccination. Dr Sanjiv Ketkar, incharge of the blood bank at Deenanath Mangeshkhar hospital, said at present, they had adequate stock of blood, platelets and routine plasma (fresh frozen plasma). However, the hospital has urged people to donate blood before being vaccinated, he added.

Dr Snehal Mujumdar, incharge of the blood bank at Ruby Hall Clinic, said they had faced a tough time in mid-March as people were apprehensive about coming to the hospital to donate blood. While post-Covid, the blood bank has stepped up its collection of blood components with a minimum of 500 to 700 blood bags every month, the concern is now about donation after vaccination, said Dr Mujumdar.

“We have appealed to those in the age group of 18 to 44 years to donate before getting vaccinated,” Dr Mujumdar said.

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