BHOPAL: A youth group in the city has launched a campaign to urge people to donate blood before getting vaccinated. The members of Youth Brigade, Bhopal, are running a campaign #Donate Blood BeforeVaccination, # ServeHumanity#lovehumanity through social media.
People are being reminded that according to National Blood Transfusion Council norms, they won't be able to donate blood for 28 days after taking the first and the second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine ñ a total of nearly two months. The young campaigners are also convincing the people that donating blood is completely safe. The campaigners say that the Covid pandemic has led to a shortage of blood for needy patients.
The lockdown is preventing donors from reaching the centres. There is also the fear among them that they may catch the infection if they visit blood banks or hospitals for donating blood. With the start of the vaccination, the supply has been further reduced due to the norms disallowing vaccinated persons to donate blood for four weeks after vaccination.
The campaign is being run since the last week of March. It was from March 1 that the government had allowed people other than health and frontline workers to get vaccinated. Initially, the minimum age was fixed at 60, which was reduced to 45 from April 1. Now, all persons above 18 have been declared eligible for vaccination. They number 3.32 crore in the state.
Asma Khan, a member of Youth Brigade has told Free Press that the vaccination would pick pace from May 1, making a large number of persons unavailable for blood donation for two months or more. That is why, we are asking them to donate blood before getting the jabs, she says.
According to her, nowadays, even the regular donors are unwilling to donate blood. "They are reluctant to come out of their homes. They fear for their family," she says.
Khan says that blood is needed by Thalassemia and cancer patients, people undergoing dialysis and women with pregnancy complications. Recently, the mother of a 14-year-old child, who is a Thalassemia patient, had phoned me from Itarsi that she cannot find blood, she says.
Dr Shruti Soni, divisional head, Blood Call Centre, Bhopal, says that people are reluctant to donate blood, fearing that it would render them weak, reduce their immunity and make them more vulnerable to Covid-19. ìBlood donations have been reduced by more than 70%. Donors say that the police harass them,î she said. Even the recipients, she says, are also in a dilemma. Most of the hospitals have been turned into Covid treatment centers and they think it is risky to go there, Soni says.
Cannot donate blood for 28 days after vaccination
The protocol is that those inoculated cannot donate blood for 28 days. So after the vaccination, blood donation has been hit. A new study recommends extending the gap between two doses to 6 to 10 weeks to enhance the effectiveness of the vaccine. It means that vaccinated people would be ineligible to donate blood for around three months. Since the beginning of the second wave, blood donations have dropped by 75%. Of course, need for blood has also reduced because routine and elective surgeries are not being performed. I appeal to the people to donate blood before going for vaccination.Dr U M Sharma, in-charge, Blood Bank, Hamidia Hospital, Bhopal