Can You Donate Blood After Getting Vaccinated For COVID-19?

Donating blood is a selfless and generous act that can help save lives. According to the American Red Cross, donating a single unit of blood can potentially save the lives of up to three people, but only 3% of eligible donors in the United States actually donate blood every year. As a result, blood is always in high demand and blood banks are constantly experiencing shortages. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened this disparity, resulting in a severe nationwide blood shortage (via Health).

Because of this severe shortage, the Red Cross and other organizations are strongly encouraging vaccinated people to donate blood. While the pandemic previously raised concerns about the safety of giving blood, the Red Cross is now assuring people that it is perfectly safe to donate blood after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, you can donate blood any time after getting vaccinated as long as you're not experiencing any side effects and can provide the name of your vaccine's manufacturer. COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers include Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer-BioNTech.

Can giving blood reduce your COVID-19 antibodies?

Donating blood does not reduce your immune system's antibody protection against the virus (via Verywell Health). You would have to lose quite a bit of blood for that to be possible and you only donate 1 pint when you give blood. On the flip side, however, blood transfusion recipients may acquire some of the vaccine's antibodies through your blood, although it is unclear how much antibody protection, if at all, would be passed on to the recipient.

"It is possible that a donor's antibody developed in response to the vaccine could be passively transferred via transfusion," Dr. Pampee Young, the chief medical officer for the American Red Cross, told Verywell Health. "However, they would constitute a very minor amount of passively-transferred antibody in comparison to the recipient's overall levels of antibodies."

Either way, the Red Cross will be testing all donations for potential antibodies (via Health). Since it takes two weeks after your second or final shot to fully build up immunity, however, your blood may not contain any antibodies to potentially pass on, depending on when you decide to donate.