BAKERSFIELD, Calif — With many COVID cases in Kern County, blood banks are asking for help from the community to either donate blood or plasma to help patients who are hospitalized from the virus.
“With the increase in COVID cases and with the holidays and everything going on, the need for donations is, and that goes for all types of donations, are needed.”
Rachel Parlier, marketing manager at Houchin Community Blood Bank, said.
Parlier said that as of Saturday, blood and plasma supplies are at a low.
“We’ve been putting an outcry right now for platelets, plasma and CCP donations, those are probably our lowest and most needed at the moment,”
According to Parlier, those who have recovered from COVID-19, their plasma can be used to help those who are currently fighting the virus, and with rising case numbers, plasma is needed now more than ever.
But, according to Hemmal Kothary, Chief Medical Officer with Dignity Health, that window of donating plasma could be getting smaller.
“The CDC just came out and said, after you get any of these new MRA vaccines, which is our Pfizer or Moderna, you can’t donate plasma.” Kothary said.
According to Kothary, the CDC hasn’t released the exact science behind why someone cannot donate plasma after they have been vaccinated, but it does effect the antibodies within the plasma, which means it couldn’t be used to help someone who is recovering from the virus.
“Which kind of puts us in a quandary because we have all of these extra patients in the hospital and we are trying to push the vaccination, how do you balance that out? so what we are trying to do is push for people to donate plasma before they get the vaccine.”
Kothary says that one donation of plasma could help save up to four people, and donating blood can save up to three.
“We are trying to our lower the number in our ERs and our ICUs, and these patients really really do benefit from this," Kothary said. "If there is a time that you are going to donate, now would be the time.”