CLAIM: The Red Cross is refusing blood donations from anyone who has received a vaccination for COVID.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. The British Red Cross does not collect or supply blood in the UK. The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service states that you must wait for seven days after receiving your COVID vaccination before you can donate. In the US, such claims about their Red Cross have been found to be inaccurate.
On Facebook, posts are being shared that claim the Red Cross is refusing blood donations from anyone who has received a vaccination for COVID-19. Furthermore, a post asks how this supposed policy will affect the availability of blood donations to the NHS.
Blood donations supplied to the NHS
In the UK, the supply of blood is the responsibility of independent agencies of government health departments. For example, in England this is the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service. In Northern Ireland, it is the Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service (NIBTS).
The British Red Cross confirmed to FactCheckNI that it is not involved in the collection or supply of blood in the UK, and that the Red Cross operates specific to the countries that they are located.
Donating blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
Currently, a pop-up message on the NIBTS website states:, “COVID Vaccination Note: Please note that you must wait 7 days after receiving your COVID vaccination, before you can donate.”
This information is also found under “Immunisation” on its “Can I Donate?” webpage.
For England, the NHSBT website further states that if you have experienced side effects from a COVID vaccine — for example, headache, temperature, aches, or chills — then you need to wait 28 days before donating blood.
While this additional information isn’t explicitly stated on the NIBTS website, for Northern Ireland the local Blood Transfusion Service lists additional criteria for blood donation for those who have shown symptoms and/or have been tested for COVID-19.
NIBTS informed FactCheckNI that as part of the in-person interview process, a potential blood donor will be asked “In the last 14 days, have you had any illness, fever, or medical problems?” regardless of vaccination circumstance.
Blood donations taken by the Red Cross
The claim being circulated online may be specific to the policy of blood donation at the Red Cross in the US. Fact checkers at Associated Press found the claim to be false.
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