Skip to main content

Every donation makes a difference

Donating blood – and blood plasma – is safe, easy and needed right now. Learn how you can help.

You may be wondering why blood supplies are low during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It’s not that patients with COVID-19 need blood. The severe shortages are the result of blood drive cancellations brought on by physical distancing measures.

In fact, thousands of blood drives have been canceled across the U.S. Meanwhile, traumatic accidents are still happening, and emergency surgeries are still being performed. And blood donations are needed.

Here’s what you need to know:

You can leave your home to donate blood.

While those in Pennsylvania have been placed under strict “stay at home” orders to help flatten the curve or slow the spread of COVID-19, leaving your home to donate blood is an allowed activity.

Just be sure to take proper precautions to protect yourself and others, including:

  • Wearing a cloth or fabric mask
  • Washing your hands as soon as you get home
  • Not touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Keeping at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and others

Donating blood is safe.

Mobile blood drives will soon resume in a limited capacity during the last week of May through the Miller-Keystone Blood Center. However, you can still donate at one of the Miller-Keystone Blood Centers. Schedule an appointment at a Miller-Keystone Blood Center today.

To protect blood donors and staff, the Miller-Keystone Blood Center has implemented social distancing and crowd size guidelines. Additionally, blood donations are done by appointment only, with no walk-ins permitted.

Setting up appointments limits the number of people gathered in one location. In addition:

  • All equipment is sanitized between uses.
  • Everything that touches the blood is disposable, including the needles and test tubes.
  • It’s likely that only people who feel well will give blood — in fact, it’s one of the screening criteria for giving blood — so the risk of exposure to the coronavirus is very low.

Who can donate blood?

Blood is perishable, and there’s no substitute for it. The only source is volunteer blood donors.

You can donate if you:

  • Are healthy
  • Are under age 70
  • Don’t take medicines that suppress your immune system
  • Haven’t been exposed to anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Haven’t traveled recently to a region with a major COVID-19 outbreak

If you qualify, consider donating blood. You can schedule an appointment at one of the Miller-Keystone Blood Centers or visit us at an upcoming blood drive.

Recovered from COVID-19? You can donate plasma.

If you’ve had COVID-19 and recovered, you might be able to help someone else who’s sick by donating your blood plasma. The unique antibodies found in your blood plasma could help them fight the illness.

To donate through the Miller-Keystone Blood Center COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Donation Program, you must meet certain requirements:

  • You must be healthy and eligible to be a volunteer community blood donor.
  • If you’ve had a pregnancy, tissue transplant or transfusion, you must be negative for HLA antibodies (the blood center can test you to find out your HLA status).
  • You must be able to show that you were diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You must have been symptom-free for 28 days (or had a negative follow-up COVID-19 test if symptom-free for at least 14 days).

Here’s how to donate:

  1. Call your doctor or message them through myGeisinger and ask them to complete and sign this form.*
  2. They can return the form to you through myGeisinger, email, fax or postal mail.
  3. When you have the completed form from your doctor, call Miller-Keystone at 800-B-A-DONOR and make an appointment to give convalescent plasma. You’ll get a reminder call the day before your appointment. Remember to bring the attestation form to your appointment, or you won’t be able to donate.

Have questions about plasma donation?

*If you have trouble getting your doctor to complete this form, contact Gustaaf de Ridder, MD, PhD, at gderidder@geisinger.edu or 919-452-8976.

You can make a difference.

You can fight feelings of helplessness or uncertainty during these unsettled times. Donating blood or plasma are positive actions you can take that directly help those in your community. Together, we can help save lives.