COVID-19 vaccine and donating blood

Blood donors are our very own frontline team – you are absolutely essential to maintaining the health of all Australians. That’s why, to safeguard our blood supply, we encourage you to get vaccinated when you can.

As a precaution, donors need to wait 7 days after receiving each COVID-19 vaccine before donating blood, plasma, or platelets. This wait time applies to all COVID-19 vaccinations, regardless of which vaccine you receive.
 

Why wait seven days?

Regular donors may remember that you can donate immediately after receiving a flu vaccine, so you may be wondering what’s different about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Different vaccines may require different wait times depending on whether there are potential donor safety issues, recipient safety issues or they have the potential to interfere with our testing.

For the flu vaccine, we have lots of data that there are no significant problems. Alternatively for the hepatitis B vaccine, it requires a 2-week wait before you can donate because it interferes with our testing.

The reason you need to wait 7 days after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is that it may cause minor side effects such as a mild fever. As these side effects usually resolve themselves after a few days, you should be feeling fit and healthy to donate once a week has passed. For more information, check out the Department of Health website article, Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

We need all blood donors to be feeling fit and well when they give blood or plasma, and we don’t allow anyone with a fever to donate as part of our regular rules. Donors who donate when they’re not feeling 100 per cent can be at an increased risk of experiencing an adverse reaction, such as fainting, during or after their donation.

Up to 80 per cent of Australians are expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine during 2021. This means up to 400,000 donors will be temporarily unable to donate. Because you are such a diverse group, and the vaccine roll-out is estimated to take a number of months, there should always be enough donors eligible to give. But you can help us plan ahead. 
 

Top tip for donating blood

Once you know your vaccination date, please consider giving blood in the days before it, or booking your donation a full week after, so that you aren’t turned away on the day.

This will help us minimise the number of appointments affected, and ensure we continue to supply much needed blood products for grateful patients across Australia.
 

Frequently asked questions

Check out our responses to frequently asked questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine and donating blood.

Can I give blood if I've had the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Yes, but you need to wait at least seven days after each COVID-19 vaccination to make sure you have had no side effects and are feeling healthy and well on the day of donation. If you have any side effects from the vaccine, you should not donate until you have recovered. If you know your vaccination date please consider donating in the days before, or scheduling your donation at least a week after vaccination.

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccination outside Australia, call us on 13 14 95.

Why is Lifeblood asking donors to wait seven days after getting the COVID-19 vaccine to donate?

This is not unusual: we regularly apply wait times like this for a variety of reasons.

The seven day wait time is for donor health reasons, because the COVID-19 vaccine may cause minor side effects such as a mild fever.

We need all blood donors to be feeling fit and well when they give blood or plasma, and we don’t allow anyone with a fever to donate as part of our regular rules. Donors who donate when they’re not feeling 100 per cent can be at an increased risk of experiencing an adverse reaction, such as fainting, during or after their donation.

Different COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out in Australia, is there a different wait time for each?

Donors need to wait seven days after each COVID-19 vaccination to make sure they have had no side effects and are feeling healthy and well on the day of donation. This wait time currently applies to all COVID-19 vaccinations, regardless of which vaccine donors receive.

Should people wait more than seven days just to be safe?

COVID-19 vaccine studies show most temporary symptoms occur up to two to three days post vaccination and are resolved within a week, so seven days is more than enough. As always, we need donors to feel healthy and well on the day of donation. We also encourage people to donate before they receive their COVID-19 vaccination or after seven days.

Is it safe to donate blood (first) and receive the COVID vaccination on the same day?

If donors have recovered well after donating blood it’s unlikely to impact their vaccination. However, just to be safe we recommend donors schedule their blood donation and COVID vaccination on different days if possible. This is to ensure donors are feeling well on the day of vaccination, as there is a small chance of side effects due to the blood donation, which could impact on your vaccination appointment.

What happens if someone develops symptoms after they’ve donated?

Anyone who becomes unwell after donating is asked to contact us as soon as possible so we can assess the situation and if necessary prevent their blood donation from being sent out to hospitals.

Can I still donate blood if I haven’t been vaccinated?

Yes. Although we strongly encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all donors and employees, Lifeblood currently has no plans to mandate vaccines for donors.

Lifeblood follows all government COVID-19 orders and we will continue to make changes as required as we transition through the pandemic. 

Will the vaccine be mandatory for donor facing staff?

Lifeblood is required to follow relevant public health orders. While Lifeblood encourages all its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it is not a routine mandatory requirement for all Lifeblood staff throughout Australia. However, our staff are required to be vaccinated in line with relevant state or territory public health orders as we are a health-related service.

 

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