The American Red Cross now invites those who spent time in the U.K., Ireland or France and have never tried to give blood due to concerns over variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) – related to mad cow disease – to give blood and help save lives.
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its blood donor eligibility guidance on vCJD, eliminating the deferral for those who spent time in the U.K., Ireland and France between 1980 and 2001. In alignment with FDA changes, the Red Cross began accepting donations Oct. 3 from individuals who have not tried giving blood before due to the prior donation criteria. In combination with prior eligibility updates in 2020 for those who spent time in other European countries, this new change effectively eliminates the deferral related to vCJD for all donors.
“For many years, the Red Cross has heard from people who have spent time in these countries – often members of the military and their families – hoping for the opportunity to donate blood or platelets,” said Wendy Yarbrough, Regional Donor Services Executive. “We now welcome all donors who may have spent time in Europe and avoided blood donation as a result to join us in our lifesaving mission to help patients in need.”
More blood donors – especially type O donors – are urged to donate now to prevent disruptions to essential medical care this fall. Book a time to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). As a thank-you, all who come to give Oct. 16-31, 2022, will receive a $10 e-Gift Card by email to a merchant of choice.
Changes in progress for those with a Red Cross donor record
Those who have tried to give with the Red Cross and have been previously deferred from donating will be contacted by the Red Cross once system records are updated. This deferral is more complex to remove than others as there are decades of donors in the Red Cross system who have been deferred under the previous FDA requirements. Individuals who have questions about their donor record can contact the Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities Oct. 16-31:
Oct. 24: 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Knights of Columbus Hall, 110 South Kibler St.
Oct. 26: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Richland Mall RSMO, 2209 Richland Mall
Oct. 26: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Crossroads Ontario Campus, 636 Lexington-Springmill Road South