Donate blood to help the COVID-19 shortage

There is a blood shortage. You may leave your house to donate blood during the Stay Home order.

What to do

There is a nation-wide blood shortage because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nation’s two largest blood providers, American Red Cross and Vitalant, have put out calls for emergency donations. 

As of March 20, Vitalant had less than a two-day supply of blood products. The American Red Cross announced it has less than a five-day supply.

Find a nearby blood donation site

Vitalant has 2 centers in San Francisco.

Both Vitalant and the American Red Cross sponsor blood donation at locations in the Bay Area.  

Check your eligibility requirements from Vitalant. Standard requirements have been updated to include a 28-day deferral for donors who have increased risk of COVID-19 exposure within the last four weeks.

You may leave your house to donate blood during the Stay Home order. It is a necessary medical activity.

Stay 6 feet away from other people when you are traveling to the blood donation site and while you are there.

Special cases

What is the donation visit like?

Plan to spend an hour total on your blood donation visit.  The session begins with COVID19 screening, health history questionnaire, and a mini-physical (including temperature, blood pressure, finger stick blood check).  The blood donation itself takes 10-15 minutes.  Donors rest, hydrate, and snack for 15 minutes before leaving.  Prepare by hydrating in the day to hours beforehand.  Eat dark leafy greens, lentils, and dark meats with a side of vitamin C to replenish iron stores!

What steps will be taken to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to volunteer donors?

In order to reduce the risk of transmission, blood centers are encouraging donors to come by appointment to prevent crowding.  Appointments will be limited to reduce waiting. Visitors accompanying donors will not be allowed in the blood donation area to comply with social distancing guidelines. Donors will be screened for COVID-19 upon entry. The blood donation area will be adjusted to meet social distancing requirements. Vitalant staff will follow rigorous safety and disinfection protocols.

Is there risk of transmission of COVID-19 to blood product recipients?

There are no known cases of transfusion-transmission of COVID-19.

Last updated May 29, 2020