A viral Instagram post claims that the American Red Cross has said that “you cannot donate Blood Plasma [sic] if you’ve had the [COVID-19] vaccine, because the vaccine wipes out the body’s natural antibodies.”
Both claims are false. The American Red Cross has not said you can’t donate blood or blood plasma if you’ve had the COVID vaccine, and the vaccine does not “wipe out” the body’s antibodies.
In a statement sent to The Dispatch Fact Check via email, a representative from the American Red Cross called the claims “not accurate.”
“In most cases, you can donate blood, platelets and plasma after a COVID-19 vaccine as long as you’re feeling healthy and well,” the statement reads. “Donating blood, platelets or plasma after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine does not reduce a donor’s protection from the virus. Similar to other vaccines such as measles, mumps or influenza, the COVID-19 vaccine is designed to generate an immune response to help protect an individual from illness. A donor’s immune response is not impacted by giving blood. Vaccine components themselves are not found within the bloodstream.”
Furthermore, as outlined on the American Red Cross website, if you want to donate blood after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, all you need to do is “provide the manufacturer name when you come to donate.” The website also notes that there is “no deferral time for eligible blood donors who are vaccinated with an inactivated or RNA based COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, Janssen/J&J, Moderna, Novavax, or Pfizer.”
In an email to The Dispatch Fact Check Vincent Racaniello, professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University, also explained why the claim that the vaccine “wipes out the body’s natural antibodies,” is wrong. “The claim that vaccination wipes out antibodies is incorrect. Vaccines do just the opposite, they induce antibodies, not wipe them out. There are no data which would suggest that vaccines reduce antibody levels,” he said. “Furthermore, if this were true, then there would be no blood supply as many people have received a variety of different vaccines.”
The American Red Cross’ statement also noted mentioned: “While the FDA allows people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to donate dedicated COVID-19 convalescent plasma within six months of their infection of the virus, based on data that antibodies from natural infection can decline after six months, the Red Cross discontinued dedicated COVID-19 convalescent plasma donations on March 26 due to declining hospital demand and sufficient industry supply.”
If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email email@example.com.