Fact Check- It is safe to receive a blood donation from a vaccinated person

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A social media video has falsely claimed it is unsafe to receive blood transfusion because vaccinated people can give blood in the United Kingdom.

The video (here) shows a recording of a phone call made to the NHS blood and transplant advice line. The woman making the call asks whether her friend – who she claims has received a COVID-19 vaccine but had a sore arm afterwards – can donate blood.

“She was just a bit worried about giving blood…you know, how does that affect someone who has not been vaccinated if they have a blood transfusion from her, is there a problem?” she asks.

The adviser tells her that it is “absolutely fine” for her friend to donate, but that she will have to wait 28 days from when her arm feels better. Shortly after, the woman ends the phone call and concludes to the camera: “So as you can see, if you’ve had the jab you can give blood. And I for one will never, ever have a blood transfusion.”

However, any suggestion that it is unsafe to receive a transfusion because vaccinated people can give blood is unfounded.

“We have the safest blood supply in the world and safety is our number one priority,” a spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) told Reuters in response to the video.

Currently, the NHS says that donors must wait a full seven days before donating (here).

However, if the donor had side effects – like a sore arm – they must wait 28 days from their recovery.

The NHSBT follows guidance set by the Joint United Kingdom Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee (JPAC) (here).

The NHSBT said that the post-vaccination deferral is used as a “precautionary measure” to keep donors and recipients safe, and so that side-effects from vaccination are not confused with “post-donation illness”.

“There is no evidence that donations from vaccinated donors will transmit any risk of infection or thrombosis to patients receiving blood,” they said, adding that all donations are screened for infections before they are sent to hospitals.

VERDICT

Missing context. It is safe to receive a blood donation from a vaccinated person. Donors are asked to wait either seven or 28 days from their vaccination before donating as a precautionary measure, and so that side-effects from vaccination are not confused with post-donation illness.

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