Due to the ongoing, nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections, along with the usual drop off in donations at the beginning of the holiday season, there’s now a particularly severe shortage of convalescent plasma and an ongoing need for all blood types. In response, the nonprofit, blood-collection organization Vitalant is providing three local, open-to-the-public donation events during January in Monmouth County.
Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to donate blood plasma. Known as “convalescent plasma,” this blood component contains antibodies that may provide seriously ill patients an extra boost in fighting the disease. There is also a great need for blood platelets -- small cells in the blood that form clots to prevent bleeding, while also helping with anemia and low blood counts – and type O-negative, the universal blood type.
FEMA has specifically identified blood donation as an “essential and integral component of the emergency support function.” Of note, coronavirus cannot be transferred through the blood. And, as always, the blood collection process is safe with no impact on the donor's immune system. Vitalant staff follows rigorous safety and disinfection protocols at its blood drives and donation centers and have always required individuals to be in good health to donate blood.
Vitalant has initiated an incentive program to attract additional donations at its New Jersey donation centers. Specifics are as follows:
Now – January 7
All donors will receive a Vitalant T-Shirt or 200 bonus points towards exclusive rewards through Vitalant’s online store
Vitalant also maintains four New Jersey blood centers, with hours and street addresses as follows:
- Lincoln Park (63 Beaverbrook Rd. | Suite 304) – Click here for hours
- Montvale (102 Chestnut Ridge Rd.) – Click here for hours
- Paramus (One West Ridgewood Ave., Suite 208) – Click here for hours
- Parsippany (1259 Rt. 46 East, Building #4E | Suite 410) – Click here for hours
Healthy individuals age 16 or older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, may donate blood; 16- and 17-year-olds must have proof of birth date and signed consent forms, either in English (http://www.communitybloodservices.org/media/Minor_Donor_Permit_ENG.pdf) or Spanish (http://www.communitybloodservices.org/media/Minor_Donor_Permit_Form_SP.pdf). Donors should eat a moderate meal prior to donating, and also bring identification featuring their signature.
On occasion, last-minute changes to scheduling for a donation event will occur. As a result, it is recommended that anyone planning to donate blood at a Vitalant donation event call 201-251-3703, toll free, to confirm timing and location details. Additional information about donating blood is also available by visiting www.vitalant.org.