Fact check: Are COVID vaccine recipients ineligible to donate blood in NC?

An ongoing national blood shortage could delay critical medical procedures, Dr. Nick Bandarenko, Duke Health’s medical director of transfusion services, told ABC11 last month.

“Surgery, transplant or accident in a car. Suddenly there’s a need for blood,” said Dr. Bandarenko. “The Red Cross is one of the major suppliers in our region. They’ve asked us to exercise conservation measures to make sure those who truly need blood will have it available.”

But despite the critical need for blood donors, there’s been some debate online about whether those who have received a COVID vaccine are eligible to donate.

“The American Red Cross is now asking blood donors if they ever received the Covid vaccine,” an X user posted last week. “If you answer Yes, they want you to call ahead to see if you’re still eligible. I thought the vax was ‘safe and effective’? What info are they hiding from us?”

Similar rumors have been spread on Facebook and TikTok, Snopes reported — but the claims concerning ineligibility are false.

If you have received a COVID vaccine, you are eligible to give blood — but in rare cases you may have to wait before donating.

Do I have to wait to give blood after getting vaccinated?

In most cases, there is no wait time to donate blood for those who received the COVID vaccine, according to the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross says those who received vaccines from the following manufacturers and are symptom-free do not have to wait to give blood:

  • AstraZeneca

  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson

  • Moderna

  • Novavax

  • Pfizer

However, if you got a vaccine from a manufacturer not listed above, or you don’t know what type of vaccine you received, you’ll have to wait two weeks before donating blood, according to the Red Cross.

How do I know which type of vaccine I received?

If you were vaccinated, you should have received a card or printout indicating which COVID vaccine you got, the Red Cross says.

The Red Cross encourages donors to bring those cards with them to their appointments.

Am I eligible to donate blood in NC?

In North Carolina, you must be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds to donate blood, according to UNC Medical Center. Donors under 18 must have a signed parental consent form to donate blood on the day of donation.

“Donors should feel well and healthy on the day of donation and free of infectious diseases, including colds,” UNC Medical Center says.

Additional eligibility criteria may apply to individuals with certain medical conditions, or who are on medication, according to the Red Cross.

NC Reality Check is an N&O series holding those in power accountable and shining a light on public issues that affect the Triangle or North Carolina. Have a suggestion for a future story? Email realitycheck@newsobserver.com