Q: I just received the first Pfizer vaccination dose today and am scheduled to donate double red blood cells in one week. Should I reschedule? Will donating blood impact the success of the vaccination?
A: According to the American Red Cross, if you received the Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, Novavax, or AstraZeneca vaccine and are you’re feeling well, you can donate blood–with no wait period.
There is also no reason to expect that donating blood will impact your body’s response to the vaccine.
It is safe for the donation recipient because getting these vaccines cannot cause COVID-19 infection–in fact, there is no SARS-CoV-2 virus in these vaccines at all! Fun fact: this is the same reason that getting vaccinated simply cannot cause a positive COVID-19 infection test. No virus is introduced via the vaccines, at all.
You also do NOT need to defer blood donation after you get the vaccine for influenza, pneumonia, meningitis, human papilloma virus (HPV), tetanus, Tdap, or the SHINGRIX vaccine (that’s the two-dose vaccine for shingles). All of these are non-replicating or inactivated virus vaccines.
You DO need to defer your blood donation if you’ve recently received a live attenuated virus vaccine, such as the vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, rubeola, chicken pox, the Zostavax vaccine for shingles (that’s the single-dose one), oral polio vaccine, hepatitis B, yellow fever, or a few other less common vaccines.
In your pre-donation health screening, you’ll be asked about recent vaccinations and the staff doing the screening will determine whether the vaccine you received indicates you should wait.
The American Red Cross is testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. This is a blood test indicating if your immune system has responded to COVID-19 either because you were vaccinated or infected. A person who has been vaccinated for COVID-19 *might* show positive on the antibody test provided by the American Red Cross!
But if it doesn’t, that’s OK. There are a couple of good reasons why the antibody test might be negative even if you’ve been vaccinated and the vaccine is protecting you. First, antibodies don’t develop right away. Second, results would depend on the type of antibody test used. We couldn’t find any info on what type of test American Red Cross uses.
Thanks for donating blood!