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Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health is seeking plasma donations from people who are fully recovered from the new coronavirus, COVID-19. People who recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies to the disease in their blood, called plasma. This convalescent plasma is being investigated as a therapy for patients with COVID-19 infections.

Interested in Donating?

If you tested positive for COVID-19, have fully recovered, and are interested in donating plasma, please thoroughly read the "Donor Requirements" and "What to Expect" sections below. Then call 717-588-1145 and leave a message. A representative from our Blood Donor Center will call you back for a detailed screening and to schedule a donation if appropriate.

Donor Requirements

You may qualify to donate plasma if you have a prior, verified diagnosis of COVID-19 (positive test result), are fully recovered, and have been symptom-free for 28 consecutive days. Donors must also:

  • Be in good health, free of other non-COVID-19 symptoms, including cold, nausea, diarrhea, flu and allergy symptoms for at least three days before donation
  • Be at least 16 years of age, and have parental consent if under 18
  • Be younger than 80 years of age
  • Weigh 150 pounds or more
  • Eat a healthy meal within four hours of donation and be well hydrated the day before and the day of donation (avoid alcohol)
  • Be well hydrated the day before AND the day of donating; avoid alcohol
  • Bring a form of ID (ex: donor card, driver’s license, work ID with photo)
  • Have an interval of at least four weeks between plasma donations

People with the following diseases or conditions are not be able to donate:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Active lung diseases such as TB or emphysema
  • History of hepatitis or yellow jaundice after age 11
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or certain autoimmune disease
  • History of cancer or cancer treatment within the last 5 years
  • Any history of blood cancer (leukemia)

Conditions requiring waiting period:

  • Tattoo or piercing (1 year)
  • Surgery (until full recovery and discharge from physician)
  • After a non-complicated pregnancy, 6 weeks post-partum
  • After a non-complicated pregnancy (6 weeks post-partum)
  • Anti-malarial medication (1 year)
  • Exposure to another person’s blood (1 year)
  • Flu shots and other vaccinations (call to ask)
  • Travel or other medical conditions/medications (case-by-case evaluation)

People who should not donate blood:

  • Past or present IV drug users
  • People with hemophilia
  • Those engaged in prostitution

What to Expect When Donating Plasma

Before donating plasma, you will take a short health screening, have your vital signs taken, and give a very small sample of blood from your fingertip. You should eat a healthy meal within four hours of your donation time and hydrate well. Plan to spend at least an hour with us.

While donating you will be comfortably reclined and able to relax or read. A needle will be placed into a vein in your arm and connected to a machine that separates the plasma (the liquid portion of your blood that contains protein antibodies) from the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The machine will collect the plasma, returning your red cells, white cells and platelets back to your body through the same needle.

At the end of donation, you will be given fluids to help replace the plasma. Your body will very quickly replace the proteins and fluids that you have donated. You shouldn’t feel weak or tired after donating.

Note: Prior to being transfused to a patient, every donation will undergo extensive testing for safety and quality, as required by the FDA and the American Association of Blood Banks.

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