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 29,000 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

Frequently asked questions

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Safety of Australia’s blood supply

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

Lifeblood is ensuring Australia’s blood supply remains one of the safest and reliable in the world through a range of measures. There are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world. You can read more in these FAQs about what we’re doing to ensure the safety of the blood supply and the health and wellbeing of our donors

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 for some months now 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 are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world.

Are you screening blood samples for coronavirus? 

There are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion 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 is diagnosed with coronavirus within 48 hours after donating blood we test the blood for coronavirus.


 Blood donor safety and eligibility

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 disinfecting of frequently used items
  • Providing additional hand sanitiser for donors
  • Additional daily disinfection 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.
Will I have to undergo any screening before going into the donor centre?

We have begun to roll 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. 

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

Donor centres aren’t medical care facilities and donors and staff members are required to be healthy and well in order to donate or work. If they’re unwell, they shouldn’t be at work or donating blood. Masks are in short supply, so we’re following the government guidelines for use. 

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. 

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 completely symptom-free. 

I donated before the new 28-day travel postponement: do I need to contact you about my donation?

No. There are no confirmed reports of coronavirus being transmitted by blood transfusion anywhere in the world. The main purpose of the postponement is to help keep our donor centres safe and to reduce the chance of transmission to other donors and staff.

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 does not 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 would 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.


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.

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. 

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 no proven effective treatments or vaccines available for COVID-19. However, a recent study from China found the condition of several critically ill COVID-19 patients improved after receiving convalescent plasma infusions. We support exploring this further and we’re committed to collecting convalescent plasma for clinical trials.

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. 

How do I donate it?

Donating convalescent plasma is just like giving plasma at any other time. 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.

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 so we can put a special code on your file. This code will tell our team to take extra samples. We can arrange this on the day if you book online, but letting us know you’re coming in to donate convalescent plasma before your donation will ensure a smooth process. 


Public health advice and donating blood

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

While many states in Australia limit non-essential activities, it is important to remember that blood donation remains absolutely vital and is excluded from any restrictions to people’s movement. 

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. 

The only exception is our generous donors aged 70 and over who have been advised to stay at home and self-isolate for their own protection. We strongly encourage you to follow this advice. 

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.

We strongly encourage our donors aged 70 and over who have been advised by Government to stay at home and self-isolate for their own protection to follow this advice.

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. 

When will I be able to donate again?

These are uncertain times and we can’t say when this advice will be lifted. While it is not compulsory, it is in place to protect people. Our donors’ safety is our top priority and we encourage you to follow this advice to stay at home and self-isolate for your own protection. We look forward to welcoming you back into one of our centres again soon.

I am over 70 and have an appointment to donate this week. Can I still turn up?

Thank you for your commitment to blood donation! While we understand and appreciate that you want to continue to support your fellow Australians by donating blood, we strongly encourage you to reschedule your appointment with us to a later date and to follow Government advice to stay at home and self-isolate for your own protection. If a donor does come into a Lifeblood donor centre, we will honour their appointment, but we strongly encourage people to follow Government advice for their own protection. 

I’m over 70 and still leaving home to work. Can I donate during my work day?

While this advice is not compulsory, we strongly encourage people to follow the Government’s advice and stay at home and self-isolate for their own protection – our donor’s safety is our highest priority.

We will not turn people away who have turned up to an appointment, but we would encourage them to look after themselves and return to donate when this advice has been lifted. 

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

Yes! From the safety of your home, and while following this advice, 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

Tasmania

Do the new restrictions announced by the Government for north west Tasmania impact my ability to donate blood?

Following a temporary closure, our donor centres in Burnie and Devonport have now reopened. These centres were temporarily closed as a precautionary measure to protect people in north west Tasmania from coronavirus.  Our medical experts have reviewed the situation and have confirmed the measures taken to date have sufficed and it is safe for people in the area to donate once again

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. Read more about plasma.

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.

 Queensland

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. Read more about plasma.

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.

 

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