Donate blood to help the COVID-19 shortage

Make an appointment to give blood at Vitalant or the American Red Cross.

What to do

When you give blood, your blood will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Having COVID-19 antibodies means you may have had COVID-19 in the past.

1. Check if you can give blood

Generally, to donate blood, you must:

  • Be at least 18 (16 and 17 year olds need parental consent)
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Not have donated blood in the past 8 weeks
  • Not have had COVID-19 symptoms in the past few weeks

2. Make an appointment at a blood donation site

Plan to spend an hour total at your blood donation visit. 

Both Vitalant and the American Red Cross sponsor blood donation at locations in the Bay Area. Vitalant has 2 centers in San Francisco.

Check more detailed eligibility criteria when you make your appointment.

Prepare for your donation by drinking a lot of water in the day to hours beforehand.  Eat dark leafy greens, lentils, and dark meats with a side of vitamin C to replenish iron stores.

3. Get ready on the day of your appointment

Check your health before you go. If you feel sick, reschedule your appointment.

Make sure to eat within 2 hours of your appointment. 

Wear a face covering and stay 6 feet away from other people when you are traveling to the blood donation site and while you are there.

The session begins with a health history questionnaire, and a mini-physical (including temperature, blood pressure, finger stick blood check). 

The blood donation itself takes 10 to 15 minutes. You can rest, drink water, and snack for 15 minutes before leaving.

Special cases

COVID-19 transmission and donated blood

COVID-19 transmission and donated blood

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

Last updated March 21, 2022