The Community Blood Center Announces Implementation of FDA’s Revised Qualifications for Blood Donations

For Immediate Release
 
The Community Blood Center Announces Implementation of
FDA’s Revised Qualifications for Blood Donation
Deferrals related to European residency during the “Mad Cow” epidemic lifted in many areas; travel to Malaria-risk areas and men who have sexual contact with other men all reduced from 12 months to 3 months
 
EDITORS NOTE: For the safety of donors and staff, visitors to The Community Blood Center must complete a Health Declaration Form and be approved prior to entry to any of the blood center’s facilities. Please contact Rachel Sonnentag to arrange media interviews. Video interviews are encouraged.   
 
APPLETON, Wis. (June 26, 2020) – The Community Blood Center (CBC) announces today the implementation of the revised blood donor qualifications released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In April 2020, to ensure a reliable blood supply because of COVID-19, the FDA changed certain qualifications for blood donation related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, malaria-risk travel and expanded eligibility for prospective donors, including men who have sexual contact with other men and other changes associated with HIV risk. The modified eligibility criteria related to these topics had been in process; however, COVID-19 has accelerated the conversations and the FDA’s approval of the criteria adjustments.   
 
The new blood donation criteria cover three primary areas:

  • Deferrals are lifted for those who have spent time in areas of Europe or on European military bases, as some of these countries are no longer considered a risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or variant CJD, also known as “Mad Cow Disease.”
  • Deferrals for certain prospective donors have been reduced from 12 months to 3 months, including:
    • Men who have sexual contact with other men
    • Blood transfusion recipients
    • Accidental blood exposures
    • Tattoos and body piercings not from a state-regulated establishment
  • Deferrals reduced from 12 months to 3 months for those who have traveled to Malaria-risk areas.
 
“We have always been supportive of the changes to blood donor eligibility criteria that is supported by science and can be managed through rigorous testing to ensure the safety of the blood supply,” John Hagins, President and CEO, The Community Blood Center, said. “We are appreciative that the FDA escalated these eligibility changes amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we’re pleased to announce the implementation of the revised blood donor qualifications so we can work with more people willing to serve hospitals and patients.”
 
All blood collected and used for transfusions goes through a rigorous preparation process with at least 13 tests conducted to ensure its safety and the safety to the patient receiving it. 
 
CBC has now implemented all necessary internal processes to welcome donors who meet these new eligibility criteria. Donors who have questions about eligibility should call (800) 280-4102.
 
COVID-19 and summer both present many challenges for blood donation. Healthy and eligible individuals, including first-time donors, are encouraged to schedule an appointment at www.communityblood.org or by calling (800) 280-4102.
 
 
About The Community Blood Center
The Community Blood Center was established in 1955 and continues today as an independent nonprofit providing a safe and reliable blood supply to hospitals in Northeast Wisconsin, the Northwoods and upper Michigan. CBC has donor centers in Appleton, Oshkosh, Little Chute and Woodruff, and hosts over 100 blood drives every month. The Community Blood Center is a member of America’s Blood Centers (ABC) and Blood Centers of America (BCA) which are networks of independent community-based, not-for-profit blood centers supporting the blood needs for approximately 60% of the United States.
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