(KTXL) – The Food and Drug Administration has announced that anyone who has received a COVID-19 vaccine can no longer donate convalescent plasma, which is used to treat coronavirus patients.
“Early studies strongly suggest that if you get it to patients early enough in their disease, it is reducing the severity of the illness, keeping them off, in some cases, ventilators, and reducing the death rate,” said Dr. Chris Gresens, senior chief medical officer at Vitalant.
Dr. Gresens explained that former COVID-19 patients can donate plasma to be transfused into current patients. The idea is that protective antibodies are inside of the plasma and can help patients fight off the disease.
According to the FDA, people cannot donate convalescent plasma once they have had a COVID-19 vaccine, at least for now.
“FDA’s concern here is largely related to the law of unintended consequences. In other words, could there be something about the vaccine that potentially might lead to problems with the convalescent plasma?” Dr. Gresens told FOX40.
Dr. Gresens said he does not believe any issues are likely but understands the FDA’s caution.
He worries what it will mean for supply as more people get vaccinated.
“While at the moment it’s not causing a significant problem, it could, if it continues, cause challenges to our supply of this product,” he explained.
Dr. Gresens said Vitalant is working with the FDA to get permission to resume donations from people who have had the vaccine.
In the meantime, he urges anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating plasma while they’re waiting on a vaccine.
“We’re looking forward to convalescent plasma eventually becoming irrelevant. That’s the ideal goal once the vaccine is being used far and wide,” he said.
If you’d like to donate, click or tap here.
The vaccine does not impact your ability to donate blood.