Recipients of FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines can donate blood immediately | Fact check

The claim: Post implies COVID-19 vaccine recipients cannot donate blood

A Feb. 20 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) features a man talking in front of a screenshot of a different Instagram post that appears to show the American Red Cross website.

“American Red Cross is asking have you ever had a corona – a COVID-19 vaccine,” the man says. “If you answered yes, look down there at the bottom. It says if you answered yes to the question, please call the 1-800-RED-CROSS before coming in to donate to determine if this will affect your eligibility.”

The caption of the video reads, “That's weird! I thought it was ssfe (sic) and effective?”

Some comments on the post suggest users believe the Red Cross doesn't accept blood from vaccinated individuals.

“That explains the shortage and why they are pushing the commercials so hard!” one comment reads.

“Kinda weird that they only want unvaxed blood,” another user wrote.

The post was liked more than 2,000 times in less than a day.

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Our rating: Missing context

The implied claim here is wrong. The Red Cross and other organizations that handle blood donations allow recipients of the four vaccines that received FDA approval to donate blood without a waiting period if they do not have any cold symptoms. Recipients of live-attenuated COVID-19 vaccines, which are only in trials in the U.S., or people who cannot identify their vaccine manufacturer, can also donate but must wait two weeks.

COVID-19 vaccine recipients encouraged to donate blood

The Red Cross does not forbid people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine from donating blood. However, the organization does have precautions in place for people who had a vaccine with a live-attenuated virus or don't know who manufactured their vaccine, Daniel Parra, a Red Cross spokesperson, told USA TODAY.

In those rare cases, prospective donors are asked to wait two weeks after getting the vaccine before giving blood, according to the Red Cross. Parra explained that the delay is in line with guidance from the Food and Drug Administration and also applies to recipients of other live virus vaccines.

“Live-attenuated vaccines contain a live but weakened virus. Thus, out of an abundance of caution, the waiting period is suggested to enable clearance of these,” Parra said in an email. “There are no live-attenuated COVID-19 vaccines yet approved in the U.S., so this is not an issue relevant to U.S. COVID-19 vaccine recipients.”

Fact check: COVID-19, polio, HIV caused by viruses that have been identified and studied

The COVID-19 vaccines that have already received FDA approval – that includes vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, Moderna and Novavax – either use mRNA technology or dead virus fragments to train the immune system to recognize and attack SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Studies are underway for live virus COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., and at least one could seek FDA approval in 2024.

Vaccines using weakened – or attenuated – viruses can stimulate stronger immune responses but also can pose a risk to people with weakened immune systems, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Routine immunizations using live viruses include shots for measles, mumps, rubella, rotavirus and chickenpox. Less common vaccines using live viruses include those for smallpox and yellow fever.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the claim for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Red Cross accepts blood donors who had COVID-19 vaccine | Fact check