Coronavirus Information

New wellness checks

'Helping to keep you and our team safe'.

We’ve introduced non-contact temperature checks and extra questions for donors before entry.

We're an essential service

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Donor centres

Our donor centres are safe and places of wellness.

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Limited shelf life

Donated blood only lasts 42 days.

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Donations needed

Every week, Australia needs 31,000 blood donations

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No confirmed reports

There are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world

Where to go for more

The latest from across Lifeblood

Blood donation

Find out about some of the changes we’ve made to the way we collect blood.

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Patient information

Learn more about blood transfusions and our world-class safety standards.

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Health professionals

Our measures to keep Australia’s blood supply safe and strong.

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Frequently asked questions

Safety of Australia’s blood supply

Is coronavirus (COVID-19) a threat to the safety of Australia’s blood supply?

No. Lifeblood is ensuring Australia’s blood supply remains one of the safest and reliable in the world through a range of measures.

There have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmission of COVID-19 anywhere in the world, and there is now increasing scientific evidence that the risk of this occurring is extremely low, if it occurs at all.

Donating blood remains an essential activity. There are still patients in hospital who need blood and are relying on people to continue making these generous donations. 

What is Lifeblood doing to ensure Australia’s blood supply is safe from coronavirus?

We have a dedicated working group of experts who have been closely monitoring global developments since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and advising any specific actions. You can find information in these FAQs about what measures we have taken.

Our donor centres remain safe places to visit, and we encourage people who are able to donate blood or plasma to continue to support the one in three Australians who will need blood or a blood product at some stage in their life. 

Can coronavirus be transmitted by blood transfusion?

There have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmission of COVID-19 anywhere in the world, and there is now increasing scientific evidence that the risk of this occurring is extremely low.

Are you screening blood samples for coronavirus? 

There have been no reported cases of transfusion-transmission of COVID-19 anywhere in the world, and for this reason we do not need to routinely test blood donors for coronavirus and we can rely on our strict screening processes.

We also don’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood. If a donor became unwell with coronavirus within 48 hours after donating blood and it had been transfused to a patient we would test the blood for coronavirus as a precaution. This hasn’t been necessary to date.


 Blood donor safety and eligibility

Do donors or staff need to wear face masks in the donor centres?

We are following Public Health Advice on wearing masks in all states:

Victorian donors and donor centre staff must wear face masks as per government instructions.  NSW donor centre staff and donors in metropolitan areas are  required to wear masks due to the cluster in the Northern Beaches that has spread to Greater Sydney. We will continue to monitor this situation carefully and hope to remove this requirement as soon as it is safe to do so. As at 8th January 2021 masks have been introduced for all donors and staff in Greater Brisbane as per the government instruction. Donors in other states and territories may wear a face mask if they choose.  

 

Donor centres aren’t medical care facilities and donors and staff members need to be healthy and well to donate or work, so we’re following the general government guidelines for use. 

Australian Government advice states that in Australia the routine use of face masks in the community is currently not recommended while the rate of community transmission of COVID-19 is low.

See ‘Victoria’, ‘New South Wales’ and ‘Queensland’ below for more information about donating in these states.

Can I wear a mask if I’m donating?

Yes. If you would like to, you can wear a face mask during the entire donation process. This can be a surgical mask or a cloth mask. However, masks aren’t required in donor centres anywhere but Victoria, Greater Sydney and Greater Brisbane, where you are required to wear one.

What steps are you taking to make your donor centres hygienic and safe? 

We want to reassure everyone that donor centres are safe to visit and it is still safe to give blood. Only healthy people are eligible to give blood with individual donors screened for any indication they may be unwell when they book to donate. Those who are sick are asked to wait until they are fully recovered before booking in. 

Our centres are strictly regulated spaces so we have always adhered to strict sanitation protocols including wearing gloves, wiping down surfaces after every donation and using single use sterile collection kits for every donation.

We have also implemented a range of other measures to protect our donors and teams including: 

  • Increased cleaning of frequently used items
  • Providing additional hand sanitiser for donors
  • Additional daily cleaning of all areas in our centres
  • Restriction of non-donating visitors to our centres
  • Provision of public health information in every centre
  • Implementing social distancing wherever possible
  • Wellness checks before entering the centre
Will I have to undergo any screening before going into the donor centre?

We currently carry out Wellness Checks in our donor centres to carefully evaluate whether donors are well enough to enter. 

Prior to checking in for your appointment you will be asked three questions about your well-being, recent travel, and if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or in close contact with someone who has. If your responses are in line with our eligibility criteria, you will proceed to a non-contact temperature check. Donors with a fever will not be allowed to register for their donation. 

Can people who have returned from overseas donate?

In response to developments in Australia and overseas, we have introduced several new blood donation rules to ensure the safety of our donors and staff, including those who have recently returned from overseas. If you have returned from overseas you need to wait 28 days before donating. If you have any other questions, feel free to give our team a call on 13 14 95.

Can people who have been in close contact with individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 donate blood?

No. We have introduced a 28-day donation postponement for anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Close contact is defined by public health authorities and is anyone who has been advised to quarantine for 14 days following exposure to COVID-19.

If I feel unwell but haven’t been tested/confirmed as having COVID-19, can I donate blood?

Thank you for your interest in donating blood. We don’t accept donations from people who are feeling unwell. The health and safety of our donors is very important, so we ask that you take time to fully recover and give us a call on 13 14 95 when you are back to full health and we can get you booked in to donate.

You say someone needs to be ‘fit and well’ to donate. What defines ‘fit and well’?

All donors need to feel well to be eligible to donate blood. We also ask donors to complete a questionnaire which includes questions which aim to protect both the health and well-being of the donor and the patient who may receive their blood. 

How long after being diagnosed with COVID-19 can someone donate blood?

A donor may donate blood 28 days after they have made a full recovery from COVID-19. The 28 days begins on the first day once you are symptom-free.

I’m a healthcare worker and have an increased risk of coming into contact with COVID-19. I feel ok, but should I avoid donating?

The main purpose of these new postponements is to help keep our donor centres safe and to reduce the chance of transmission to other donors and staff. If you have come into contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 you must wait 28 days before donating blood. 

Please note this postponement doesn’t apply to people wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) who have been in close contact with a positive case during the course of their work, such as health care workers. If you feel well and are otherwise eligible we encourage you to continue to donate.

Do I need to be tested before donating blood?

No, you do not need to be tested, but you do need to feel well and healthy. If you’re feeling well, we’d love to see you in one of our donor centres soon. We have recently introduced several new blood donation rules to ensure the safety of the blood supply. If you’re unsure about your eligibility to donate, please call us on 13 14 95.

Can I donate if I have been advised to quarantine after being in a hotspot if I am currently in another state but recently returned? 

Whilst donating blood is essential, donors who have returned from an interstate trip where there is a risk of community transmission back to another state must follow the restrictions in the state that they have returned to. If a person has travelled back from an area and the relevant state government has instructed people to quarantine for a period of time post return, they cannot donate blood during this time. If that is the case we ask you to reschedule your appointment for the period after your quarantine finishes.


Convalescent plasma   

What is convalescent plasma?

Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood which contains your antibodies. Antibodies are proteins your body makes to help fight off a virus. When you recover, the antibodies stay in your blood as part of your immune system. Collecting convalescent plasma from a person who has recovered from COVID-19 may assist in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. Learn more about convalescent plasma.

How could convalescent plasma be used to treat COVID-19? 

Convalescent plasma has been used in the past to help people fight off disease when there are no vaccines or treatments available. Doctors want to know if antibodies from someone who has recovered from COVID-19 could be used to help patients battling the same virus. The theory is that the plasma from survivors would boost the immunity of the patient helping them fight the disease by blocking or neutralising the effect of the virus. Learn more about convalescent plasma.

Why does Lifeblood want to do this? 

As Australia’s sole supplier of plasma, Lifeblood is in a unique position to help. We already have the expertise and equipment necessary to collect and supply convalescent plasma for clinical trials. 

There are currently limited effective treatments and no vaccines available for COVID-19. Some studies have shown improvement with convalescent plasma whilst others have not. It is expected that international trials should provide more information on effectiveness. We support exploring this further and we’re committed to collecting convalescent plasma for clinical trials. There are two trials happening in Australia now which are fully supported through plasma donations made by recovered Australian COVID-19 patients. We are also building up our stock in the event the trials demonstrate convalescent plasma is effective.

We’re also collecting convalescent plasma to be made into COVID-19 Immunoglobulin (a concentrated plasma product) by CSL Behring. Learn more about convalescent plasma.

Can I give convalescent plasma?

Convalescent plasma can only be donated by someone with a confirmed laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19, who has fully recovered from the virus and been symptom-free for at least 28 days. You’ll also need to meet Lifeblood’s standard eligibility criteria as the only different criteria for convalescent plasma donation is you must have had a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19. 

If that’s you, consider donating — it’s a simple, powerful act that could help a patient struggling to fight the disease. Learn more on our convalescent plasma page or to book to donate convalescent plasma give us a call on 13 14 95.

How do I donate it?

Donating convalescent plasma is just like a regular plasma donation, which is very similar to giving blood. You’ll need to be well hydrated and should drink three large glasses of water in the three hours before donating. Just like any other plasma donation, you’ll sit back in a comfy chair while blood is drawn into a machine, which separates it from the other blood products. The machine holds onto the plasma and returns the rest to you. It usually takes about 45 minutes, so you can read, catch up on your favourite TV shows or just enjoy some uninterrupted down time. You can give convalescent plasma at your nearest donor centre, just like a regular donation. 

Learn more here or, to get started, simply call us on 13 14 95 and tell us you have recovered from COVID-19 and would like to donate plasma.

I have COVID-19 — how can I access convalescent plasma? 

You’ll need to speak with your doctor about treatment options. We don’t provide plasma or other blood products directly to patients and the release of convalescent plasma to hospitals is subject to approved criteria.

How can I make an appointment to donate convalescent plasma? 

You can call us on 13 14 95 and tell us you have recovered from COVID-19 and would like to donate plasma. It’s important to call rather than book online or on our app so we can be ready to take your convalescent plasma. 

What is happening with the pause in convalescent plasma COVID-19 antibody test results?

Learn more


Public health advice and donating blood

How do changes to restrictions on non-essential services, restriction of movement and age restrictions apply to Lifeblood?

Blood donation remains absolutely vital and is exempt from any restrictions on movement. We are incredibly grateful to all our donors who have donated throughout the challenges of the last few months and urge you to continue doing so. 

Donating blood and plasma remains an essential activity and travel and venue restrictions do not prevent people from giving blood - we need you more than ever! There are still patients in hospital who need blood and are relying on people to continue making these generous donations. 

How is Lifeblood enforcing the Government’s restrictions, including having one person per four square metres?

Essential activities including health care settings are not included in the restriction, however we are implementing social distancing in all our centres and collection sites wherever possible to make sure donors are at least 1.5 metres away from other donors.

Donors must be well and healthy to donate and we’ve also introduced a number of measures to protect donors and staff which you can read about in these FAQs. If you have any further questions, call us on 13 14 95. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation, but please don’t hesitate to speak with our staff when you arrive at the donor centre if you have any concerns. 

Is there anything I can do to help if I can’t donate?

Yes! You can encourage your friends and family to become blood donors. They can book an appointment online or call us on 13 14 95 - you can also tweet, Instagram or encourage them on Facebook. Thank you so much for helping to spread the word!


State changes to our donor centres

 

New South Wales

Do donors need to wear a mask when they donate at a NSW donor centre? 

As of the 19th December donors who donate blood at a donor centre in Greater Sydney will be required to wear a face mask. This is because of the Northern Beaches Cluster that has some further spread in Greater Sydney. We hope this is a short term requirement and will remove this when the cluster is controlled with no further significant risk of community transmission.

If you’re a donor you’re not required to wear a mask at our NSW non-metropolitan donor centres. However, you’re welcome to wear one if you’d like to.

Donors can wear surgical masks or cloth masks. If you are a donor and you pass our donor wellness check, but haven’t brought a face mask and wish to wear one, we’ll provide you with one.

Our donor centres are places of wellness, and we have implemented additional measures to ensure that remains the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is it still safe to donate given the risk of community transmission in NSW?

Yes. We have implemented additional measures to ensure that our donor centres remain places of wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One of those is that we’re asking NSW donors to follow government advice and wear face masks when donating at centres covering Greater Sydney including Wollongong and the Central Coast It can be a surgical or cloth mask. If you are a donor and you pass our donor wellness check, but haven’t brought a mask, we’ll provide you with one.

Our other COVID safety measures remain. If you’re in a non-metropolitan area of NSW and would like to wear a mask while you donate you can bring your own or we can provide you with one when you arrive at the donor centre. 

If you are able to donate blood to continue to support the one in three Australians who will need blood or a blood product during their life, please do. 

To help us with maintaining physical distancing in all our centres, please ensure you book your donation in advance and come alone. Thank you for your support!

Will masks be provided for NSW donors or should they supply their own?

In greater Sydney where masks are required for donor centres, if you can bring your own face mask, please do. It can be a surgical mask or a cloth mask.

If you are required to wear a face mask for your donation and don’t have one, we will provide you with one. 

In regional NSW where face masks are not required, if you wish to wear one please bring your own mask.

I live in the Northern Beaches area. Can I still donate?

On 18 December 2020, we asked all donors donating in the next week in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney to reschedule their donations for 14 days’ time, and to cancel their donation if they’re feeling unwell. 

If that’s you, you can reschedule or cancel your donation any time online.

Do staff in the ACT (Garran and Civic) need to wear masks?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Lifeblood has always followed the direction of the State and Territory Public Health departments. The ACT government hasn’t given a direction the community should wear mask so there’s no need for our ACT staff to wear masks at this time. But, we’ll continue to monitor all State and Territory government advice.

Do Albury donors need to continue to wear masks?

No.  Given the rates of community transmission in Victoria are no longer high, donors and staff in Albury do not need to wear masks as they are located in regional NSW.

South Australia

Should donors from South Australia be wearing masks when they come in to donate?

The government has indicated that as of December 23rd masks are no longer mandatory in health and other settings. The rate of community transmission is now back to baseline after the Parafield cluster where masks were introduced. Therefore masks are now no longer required for staff and donors in South Australia in line with government guidelines.

Our donor centres are places of wellness, and we have implemented additional measures to ensure that remains the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Victoria

Should donors from Victoria be wearing masks when they come in to donate?

Yes. We ask donors to follow government advice and to wear a face mask when they are in any of our Victorian donor centres. Lifeblood donor centre employees working in all our Victorian donor centres are also required to wear masks.

Our donor centres are places of wellness, and we have implemented additional measures to ensure that remains the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Donors can wear surgical masks or cloth masks.

Will someone be allowed to donate in Victoria if they don’t want to wear a mask?

No, unless they have a medical exemption. We will ask Victorian donors who refuse to wear a mask to postpone their appointment until   the public health advice is updated. We are closely guided by Federal and State/Territory public health guidelines which we carefully monitor.

Will you refuse entry to a donor centre for someone who refuses to wear a mask?

Yes, if they do not have a medical exemption, because the requirement to wear masks is for the safety of both our donors and our staff and is currently recommended by the government. We understand that the level of community transmission is back to baseline but we are following the specific Victorian Government guidance on masks, which is different to other states.

Can I donate if I have recently visited or live in Victoria or a Victorian lockdown area?

Because of the successful suppression of the second wave in Victoria the risk has returned to very low levels. Therefore there are no donation restrictions Australia-wide if you have recently been in Victoria or another area with low level community transmission. However, you need to follow public health advice about movement in and out of a particular area. The different state and territory governments have differing restrictions for people who have recently been in an area that has had recent transmission and it is expected that donors would abide by the restrictions put in place by the government.

Will masks be provided for Victorian donors or should they supply their own? 

If you can bring your own face mask, please do. It can be a surgical mask or a cloth mask.

Can donors in border towns still donate blood?

Yes, you should be able to. Blood donation is an essential service. If you live in a border town, like Albury-Wodonga, you will be able to give blood at a Lifeblood donor centre.

If you have any delays getting a permit and need to reschedule an upcoming donation you can do it online or by calling 13 14 95.

Can I still donate blood during COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria?

Yes. Donating blood is an essential act of care-giving. Our Victorian donor centres have remained open during the entire COVID-19 pandemic so far and our donor centres were demonstrated as safe for donors to come in and donate. With the lifting of many restrictions we continue to encourage our donors to come in and donate!

You can read more at the Victoria Department of Health and Human Services website.

Queensland

Can I still donate blood during COVID-19 restrictions in Greater Brisbane?

Yes. Donating blood is an essential act of care-giving. Our Victorian donor centres remained open during the second wave and our donor centres were safe for donors to come in and donate. That is also the case in Greater Brisbane.

Should donors from Greater Brisbane be wearing masks when they come in to donate?

Yes. The Queensland government has advised that as of the 11th January face masks are required for residents in Greater Brisbane in indoor environments where a person cannot socially distance. We ask donors to follow government advice and to wear a face mask when they are in any of our Greater Brisbane donor centres. Lifeblood donor centre employees working in all our Greater Brisbane donor centres are also required to wear masks as per current government instructions.

Our donor centres are places of wellness, and we have implemented additional measures to ensure that remains the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Donors can wear surgical masks or cloth masks dependent on preference.

We are hopeful this will be a short term requirement and removed once the risk of community transmission returns to baseline and the Queensland government is confident they have contained any risk of community transmission.

Will someone be allowed to donate in Greater Brisbane if they don’t want to wear a mask?

No, unless they have a medical reason not to wear a mask. We will ask all Greater Brisbane donors who refuse to wear a mask to postpone their appointment until the risk of COVID-19 reduces to low levels again and the public health advice is updated. We are closely guided by Federal and State/Territory public health guidelines which we carefully monitor.

Will you refuse entry to a donor centre for someone who refuses to wear a mask?

Yes, if they do not have a medical exemption/reason, because the requirement to wear masks is for the safety of both our donors and our staff and is currently mandated by the Queensland government. It’s part of our additional measures to ensure that remains the case during this time.

Will masks be provided for Greater Brisbane donors or should they supply their own?

If you can bring your own face mask, please do. It can be a surgical mask or a cloth mask.  If you don’t have a mask, we will provide you with one.

Are masks required for people in Queensland who donate outside of the Greater Brisbane area?

Residents of Greater Brisbane must follow the government guidance and wear a mask outside of their home. However, for donors who do not reside in Greater Brisbane masks are not required as there is no significant risk of community transmission from this case outside of Greater Brisbane currently. Donors can wear a mask if they would like to.

Why are the Cairns and Mackay donor centres now only collecting plasma?

Blood has a short shelf-life, and it must be tested, processed and stored within strict timeframes. The reduction in air services from Far North and North Queensland to Brisbane, where our nearest processing centre is located, means these strict timeframes may not be able to be met.

Switching to plasma only collections, which are not affected by the same strict timeframes, provides us with greater flexibility to transport donated plasma to Brisbane and ensures that Australian patients are still getting the life-saving plasma medicines they require. 

How long will Cairns and Mackay donor centres be plasma-only donor centres?

The move to plasma-only collections in Cairns and Mackay will continue while there are interruptions to reliable air transport services.

Are plasma donations as important as whole blood donations?

Absolutely. Plasma is full of important proteins and nutrients, which protect us against invaders and help our blood to clot. These proteins and nutrients are used to support patients when they’re at their most vulnerable. Plasma can be the last line of defence in the treatment of many serious medical conditions. You can read more about plasma here.

Will blood still be available to North Queenslanders in an emergency?

Yes, we are a national blood service and there will be no disruption to the availability of blood due to these changes. North and Far North Queensland patients will continue to receive all the blood and blood products they need.

Tasmania

Why are you only collecting plasma in Tasmania on Fridays and Saturdays?

Our Tasmanian donor centres have temporarily moved to plasma only donations on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Blood has a short shelf-life, and it must be tested, processed and stored within strict timeframes. The reduction in air services at the end of the week from Tasmania to Melbourne, where our nearest processing centre is located, is making this increasingly difficult.

Temporarily switching to plasma only collections, which are not affected by the same strict timeframes, provides us with greater flexibility to transport donated plasma to Melbourne and means we can still collect donations from generous Tasmanians on these days.  

But don’t worry, we’re still collecting blood donations Monday to Thursday at all our centres; this temporary change only applies to Fridays and Saturdays. 

How long will Tasmanian donor centres be collecting plasma-only on Fridays and Saturdays?

Friday and Saturday plasma-only collections in Tasmania will continue while there are interruptions to reliable air transport services.

Are plasma donations as important as whole blood donations?

Absolutely. Plasma is full of important proteins and nutrients, which protect us against invaders and help our blood to clot. These proteins and nutrients are used to support patients when they’re at their most vulnerable. Plasma can be the last line of defence in the treatment of many serious medical conditions. You can read more about plasma here.

Will blood still be available to Tasmanians in an emergency?

Yes, we are a national blood service and there will be no disruption to the availability of blood due to these changes. Tasmanian patients will continue to receive all the blood and blood products they need.