Demand for convalescent plasma soars as COVID surges across SC, NC, GA

Updated: Jan. 11, 2021 at 8:07 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with The Blood Connection say the need for convalescent plasma across their network has tripled over the last few months.

They are now calling on people who have recovered from COVID-19 to urgently donate.

“We want a healthy stockpile so that we can send it wherever it’s needed. But right now, once it comes in, it goes right back out,” said Allie Van Dyke, TBC’s partnerships and media coordinator. “We are in a place right now, where if we don’t get triple the amount of donors to come out and give, then we’re not going to be in a good situation for our hospitals...we are trying to get ahead of this.”

Since April 2020, The Blood Connection has provided 345 units of convalescent plasma to Roper St. Francis, Trident, and MUSC Health hospitals, according to Dyke.

However, their already limited supply of this treatment option for COVID-19 patients is being stretched even thinner as case numbers remain high across South Carolina.

As a silver lining to the pandemic though, higher case numbers mean there are now more people able to give.

“You can give every two weeks. After the fourth time, you can give every six weeks, but that is still more frequently than a whole blood donor, so that’s what’s really been helping us through the pandemic is that our convalescent plasma donors are coming back time and time again,” Dyke said.

However, those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine are not eligible to donate convalescent plasma at this time.

“You cannot give convalescent plasma if you’ve had the vaccine because it’s going to a COVID-19 patient. We get our recommendations from the FDA, and our medical director works with our hospitals, and right now that’s the protocol,” Dyke said. “Our hope is that changes sometime soon, but for right now that’s the guideline we have to go by.”

Donors must be symptom free for at least 14 days to give.

Officials encourage you to make an appointment online or by calling 864-751-1168.

You can also walk into any TBC center with proof of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or COVID-19 antibodies. The Lowcountry’s center is located at 5870 Core Road in North Charleston.

Convalescent plasma donors will receive a gift card as a “thank you.”

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