The oldest and largest national independent nonprofit transfusion medicine organization, Vitalant, has launched a campaign to help COVID-19 and other patients through life-saving convalescent plasma and other blood donations. The campaign is a prompt to take action and save lives, while reminding the public that donations are both safe and essential.
Under the banner of ‘Because of You, Life Doesn’t Stop’ Vitalant’s network of donation centers, in concert with its hospital partners operating under US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigational protocols, are collecting and transfusing plasma from eligible donors convalescing from COVID-19.
Recovered COVID-19 patients have immune-boosting antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in their plasma, which can be given to patients currently fighting COVID-19.
Vitalant’s Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Dr. Ralph Vassallo said, “Convalescent plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients is needed now because it contains protective antibodies that may fight the virus and hopefully improve the outcome of COVID infection. The need for these and all other types of blood donations has never been more immediate or more desperate. We believe that once Americans are fully aware of this crisis and the opportunity to save lives, they will respond as they always have in difficult times.”
In response to the global pandemic, Vitalant aims to raise awareness of the immediate need for plasma and the significant need for blood donations by shining a spotlight on the key factors:
- Convalescent plasma therapy is the only currently available investigational antibody-based treatment for COVID-19
- As shelter-in-place requirements are relaxed across the country, the weekly demand for blood components has increased by 25% compared to early April
- The need for blood is significantly increasing now that elective surgeries are being rescheduled
- Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for blood has continued for childbirth, cancer treatments, essential medical procedures, and everyday emergencies
- Resurgent use of blood requires an immediate increase in donations to maintain the U.S. blood supply
- Every blood donation can save up to three lives
As one of the nation’s foremost blood providers and transfusion medicine research centers, Vitalant is simultaneously leading the effort to restore the national blood supply and ensure that patients and hospitals have stable blood inventories. The U.S. Surgeon General and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have designated blood donation as an essential function, encouraging healthy and eligible donors to continue to donate even amidst COVID-19 response measures. From coast to coast, all Vitalant centers continue to intensify precautionary measures to ensure the safety of donors, patients and staff.
“We’re imploring the nation to come together, to support this mission and to recognize the immediate need for plasma and blood donations,” says Vitalant Chief of Marketing Clifford Numark. “Each individualized action can have an immense impact in providing a collective hope and promise to the American people during this time. We simply can’t do our life-transforming work without you.”
Vitalant comprises a network of more than 125 community blood centers and continues to push the boundaries to advance the experience, practice and application of transfusion medicine.
For more information on donating convalescent plasma view the PSA. To join the larger conversation about plasma and blood donations visit: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtag #VitalToLife.