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.

Link here

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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

COVID-19 vaccine 

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 – your vaccination status will have no impact on your eligibility to donate blood.

Will the vaccine be mandatory for donor facing staff?

While Lifeblood encourages all its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, it is not a mandatory requirement for Lifeblood staff in line with government guidance. 

 

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:

As at 15th April, staff and donors are no longer required to wear masks at donor centres in Queensland. This is following the Queensland government instruction removing restrictions and control of the Queensland clusters. 

Masks in Victoria were removed after the 26th March, and from Lismore Donor Centre, NSW, after 6th April, in line with the governments easing of mask requirements. 

Masks are required in Western Australian donors centres in the Perth and Peel regions in line with the government mandate introduced from 6pm on the 23rd April. Please see further information in the Western Australia section at the bottom of this page. 

Please note because of the reduced ability to physically distance in mobiles, staff and donors must wear a face mask when donating at a mobile blood donation centre in all states. 
 
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.

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 except in the Perth and Peel regions in Western Australia or when donating at a mobile, where you are required to wear one. This is because the ability to physically distance in the mobiles may be decreased at times.

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. Our wait periods are based on the government response and risk assessment. If you have returned from overseas and you are required to quarantine on return, you need to wait 28 days before donating. If a country is in a travel bubble with Australia and there is current quarantine free travel, there is no wait period.  If you have any other questions, feel free to give our team a call 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. It was thought that collecting convalescent plasma from a person who has recovered from COVID-19 may assist in the treatment of patients with COVID-19. However, clinical trials to date have not demonstrated a significant benefit. Therefore, Lifeblood has made the decision to cease collections. You can read more about this decision either here or by reading the FAQs below.

Why have we decided to stop collecting convalescent plasma?

There is increasing evidence that treatment with convalescent plasma does not improve outcomes in people with COVID-19. In addition, because Australia has been so successful at controlling the pandemic we only have a limited number of donors who have the antibodies in their system, most of whom are at least 6 months post recovery. 

Furthermore, we know that vaccination can also generate a strong immune response. Therefore, if international trials find a role for convalescent plasma or COVID-19 Immunoglobulin (the pooled product from many donors) in the future, it could be collected from vaccinated donors which would give us a much larger pool of potential donors.

We want to thank everyone who has been involved in our convalescent plasma program such as South Eastern Area Laboratory Services (SEALS) and the Kirby Institute, and our trial collaborators including the Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT) and the Randomised, Embedded, Multi-factorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia (REMAP-CAP).

However, most of all we wish to thank our generous donors.

Who made the decision? 

A decision to cease the clinical trials was made independently by the trial groups because of the emerging evidence of a lack of effect and the lack of patients.

Lifeblood decided the convalescent plasma program be ceased based on emerging evidence. 

What happens to the donations already collected?

The donations collected in the program have either already been used in treating patients with COVID-19,  made into COVID-19 Immunoglobulin that is being used in research or if not used for either of those purposes will be used as regular plasma to treat patients.

Lifeblood is in the process of contacting all convalescent plasma donors to inform them of the change and we hope they will continue to donate plasma and blood.

By doing so they can continue to help Australian patients who rely on these donations to treat trauma and bleeding, auto-immune diseases, cancer, haemophilia, kidney conditions and burns. 

Donating plasma is exactly the same process as donating convalescent plasma so we are hopeful they will continue to roll up their sleeves.

While we will no longer be collecting convalescent plasma for COVID-19 patients, we still need plasma every day for sick and injured Australians. 

We will therefore be encouraging those donors to keep coming back and making a difference in the lives of others.

We would like to thank all our generous donors who took part in this Australian-first program.

What are the benefits of donating plasma?

Plasma is full of important proteins and nutrients, which protect us against invaders and help our blood to clot.  This makes it a powerful and versatile component of our blood.

It is collected and broken down into 15 to 20 individual products used to treat a growing list of chronic and rare medical conditions. 

Plasma is used in hospitals to treat trauma and bleeding, but it's also used to make life-saving medicine for patients with immunodeficiency and auto-immune diseases, cancer, haemophilia, kidney conditions and burns. 

Plasma can be the last line of defence in the treatment of many serious medical conditions.

It can take up to 13 plasma donations to make some plasma medicines, which is why so many donors are needed.

Were there any benefits to taking part/are we now better equipped for taking part in this type of program in the future?

This is the first time Lifeblood has ever collected convalescent plasma. In addition to providing donations for this vital research, we now have the systems and procedures in place, should we need to collect convalescent plasma in the future. There has been important knowledge gained, here and internationally, and we are pleased to have been part of it.

Have other international blood services made similar decisions?

Not all blood services collected convalescent plasma. The UK and Canada recently announced they have stopped collecting convalescent plasma. 

How many people donated as part of this program/how many collections total? 

Lifeblood collected convalescent plasma from 846 donors across Australia who made more than 3500 donations over the past ten months.

Would Lifeblood take part in similar programs in the future? 

Any further participation in the collection of convalescent plasma would first require government approval. There would also need to be some indications that the antibodies may help a particular subgroup, such as people with a compromised immune system, or that it can have an impact on disease progression.

Could this be reinstated if there is another wave?

Yes, Lifeblood maintains the ability to collect convalescent plasma. However, because it has not been demonstrated to be effective and vaccination is expected to provide a larger proportion of healthy potential donors, it is unlikely we would reinstate the program in its current form. If there is a need for COVID-19 Immunoglobulin in future, Lifeblood will consider how best to recruit and collect from donors again.


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 or two 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? 

No, unless you are donating at a mobile.

As of the 12th February, in line with the NSW government removing most face mask restrictions, the requirement to wear a face mask to donate blood in greater Sydney has been ceased as the community transmission risk is currently low.   

The requirement to wear a face mask to donate blood at Lismore Donor Centre in NSW was also ceased, in line with government advice, from 7th April.

As always, you’re welcome to wear a face mask whilst donating if you’d like to.
Our donor centres are places of wellness, and we have implemented additional measures to ensure that remains the case during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you donate at a mobile you will be required to wear a mask. This is because of the smaller area, so the ability to physically distance may be reduced at times.

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.

If you’d like to wear a mask while you donate you can bring your own.

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?

If you wish to wear a face mask please bring your own mask. If you donate at a mobile and do not have one we will provide you with one.

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.

Do Lismore donors need to continue to wear masks?

No. In line with government advice, donors and staff in Lismore are no longer required to wear masks in centre from 7th April.

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?

No, unless you are donating at a mobile. 

As of the 27th March, in line with the VIC government removing most face mask restrictions, the requirement to wear a face mask to donate blood in Victoria at a donor centre has been ceased.  The risk of community transmission in these areas is considered very low, and the requirement for staff and donors to wear masks while in centre has therefore been revised.

As always, you’re welcome to wear a face mask whilst donating if you’d like to.

If you donate at a mobile you will be required to wear a mask. This is because of the smaller area, so the ability to physically distance may be reduced at times.

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

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

If you wish to wear a face mask please bring your own mask. However, if you donate at a mobile and do not have one we will provide you with one.

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.

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

Queensland

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

No, unless they are donating at a mobile or a donor wishes to wear a mask. The requirement to wear masks in Queensland donor centres was removed on the 15th April in line with the easing of government restrictions because of control of the COVID-19 clusters.

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

If you wish to wear a face mask please bring your own mask. However, if you donate at a mobile and do not have one we will provide you with one.

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.

Western Australia


Can I still donate blood during COVID-19 restrictions in the Perth and Peel regions introduced on the 23rd April?

Yes. Donating blood is an essential act of care-giving. Our Victorian, NSW and Brisbane donor centres all remained open during their lockdowns and donor centres were safe for donors to come in and donate. That is also the case in Western Australia.    

Should donors from Perth, Peel Region and South West be wearing masks when they come in to donate?

Yes, if you live in the Perth/Peel regions only. The Western Australian government has advised that as of 6pm on the 23rd April 2021 face masks are mandatory for residents of Perth and Peel regions when leaving their homes. We ask donors to follow government advice and to wear a face mask when they are in any of our donor centres in the affected regions.

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

Will you refuse entry to a donor centre in Perth or Peel 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 Western Australian government. It’s part of our additional measures to ensure that remains the case during this time.

Should donors in Busselton and Albany be wearing masks when they come in to donate?

No, any donor is welcome to wear a mask but there is no requirement to if you are outside of the Perth or Peel regions.

 

Will masks be provided for 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 are donating in Perth or Peel and you do not have a mask we can provide you with one.

 

Are there any extra donor restrictions during the lockdown?

We ask that all donors are aware of and regularly check the WA Health Website for current COVID-19 locations and alerts regarding potential exposure sites from the COVID-19 cases before donating. If you have been at one of these locations, you should follow public health advice. If you have been advised to quarantine for 14 days you are considered a close contact and cannot donate blood for 28 days following exposure. If you have been to a listed location where you must present for a COVID test and isolate until a negative result, you must follow public health directions including having a COVID-19 test and await the result before you donate. If required, please reschedule your donation. This advice also applies when the lockdown finishes if there are further community exposure sites.