International Thalassaemia Day 2021: Why you should donate blood before getting the COVID-19 vaccine
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The International Thalassaemia Day is marked annually on 8 May and it's main focus is to raise awareness amongst the general public and to help the global Thalassaemia community to connect and call for changes towards the improvement of patients lives and well being.

What is Thalassaemia?

Thalassaemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes your body to have less haemoglobin than normal. Haemoglobin enables red blood cells to carry oxygen. Thalassaemia can cause anemia, leaving you fatigued. Mild Thalassaemia may not need treatment. More severe forms may require regular blood transfusions. People who suffer from this can take steps such as choosing a healthy diet and exercising regularly to cope with fatigue.

Reasons why you should donate blood if eligible before getting the Covid-19 vaccine:

According to the Kerala State Blood Transfusion Council, the state has been experiencing a 10% dip in blood donation ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020. Although this has not led to a shortage of blood banks across the state, officials are anticipating a possible shortage in the coming months. The guidelines of the National Blood Transfusion Council state that a donor can donate blood only 28 days after getting two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine doses. Not only the Covid-19 vaccine, but every vaccination requires a gap of 28 days before donating blood.

"Since the past year, there has been a dip in blood donation. Usually, in Kerala, the majority of voluntary blood donations happen through outreach camps held by various associations and groups. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, such camps could not be organised causing a dip in blood donation", says Dr SM Balagobalam, Medical Officer at the Indian Medical Association’s Blood Bank Complex and Research Center.

Dr.Ramesh has further stated that people are apprehensive about coming to blood camps or blood banks due to the fear of safety during a pandemic. However, precautions have to be taken to make sure that a shortage of blood in the state doesn't arise. The officials have started a campaign urging people to make in-house blood donations and direct donations through blood banks a few days before getting the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Small-scale blood donation camps can also be held taking all required COVID-19 safety measures.

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