By Nancy Black

Yippee! I’m fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and I don’t have to undergo brain surgery. Now what? No, I’m not going to Disneyland. I’m going to donate blood.

I wasn’t sure if I could give, first because of my brain tumor treatment, which is now on hold. And second, because I was afraid donating blood would diminish the effectiveness of my Pfizer shots.

Not so. It is perfectly safe to donate blood after receiving a coronavirus vaccine. According to the Red Cross, after vaccination, volunteers can still donate blood, platelets and plasma and it won’t reduce the effects of the vaccine. You may have to wait a few weeks, depending on which brand of vaccine you got. (There is no wait needed for J&J, Moderna and Pfizer). And, you’ll need to bring your vaccination card and/or the name of which shot you received. But as long as you are symptom free and feeling well, let that blood donation flow. All area blood banks are desperately low on supplies. And if you have already had COVID-19, your blood donation may be even more valuable. Jane Gibson, a College of Medicine expert in molecular pathology and genetics at the University of Central Florida, said: “After you recover from COVID-19, your body contains antibodies to the disease that remain in the plasma of your blood. And the FDA has approved convalescent plasma — the process of transfusing a recovered person’s plasma into a person critically ill with the coronavirus — as an experimental treatment. These added antibodies can boost the critically ill patient’s immunity and reduce their body’s infection load, reducing their risk of death. Convalescent plasma can also be used to manufacture hyperimmune globulin, a biological product that can also be used to treat patients with COVID-19.”

Shot or no shot. Whether you’ve had COVID or not. Please donate blood today. The average donation of one pint of blood can help potentially help save three lives. Visit carterbloodcare.org or redcross.org to find the nearest donation center near you. #GiveforLife