Absolutely Smashing: one year on from UK being A-OK

Absolutely Smashing: one year on from UK being A-OK

It’s been one year since we put out the biccies and started pouring cuppas for our UK mates, and those who were previously unable to donate because of vCJD risk.

For more than two decades, people who had lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 couldn’t give blood. But, it was something many of you were passionately keen to do, constantly asking us when we’d allow ‘Mad Cow’s’ to join the ranks of Australian blood donors. 

The peak of vCJD infections has long since passed, and based on the latest data and research, Lifeblood, CSL Behring (who turn plasma into treatments), the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and state and federal health authorities agreed to change the rules in 2022 based on the low risk. Find out more about that here.

In the year since then, we’ve welcomed 34,389 of these donors, who have together made a whopping 123,118 donations! 

That’s up to 335,232 lives saved thanks to those life-giving legends, and 8% of all the blood donations we’ve collected in the past year. 

Not all new donors make it back for a second donation but this batch of newbies are committed. 76% of them have already returned. Clearly some feel they’re making up for lost time — especially the very devoted group of more than 1,000 donors who have donated more than 10 times since last July. 

Little Britain

The biggest turnout of UK donors has been in Western Australia. In fact. the demographic of our Edgewater Donor Centre is now 20% UK donors. Our loneliest group can be found in Liverpool, where just 1% of their panel are UK donors.

The average age of this new cohort is 52 — which has about 12 years on our average new donor (40) and 6 on the average donor overall (46). Thanks to this shift, the average new donor we met this year is about 5 years older than in previous years. 

The Myth Continues

One year on, the idea you can’t donate because you’ve lived in or visited the UK perseveres, with many people continuing to assume they’re ineligible. 

Australia needs 33,000 donations every week. Help us overcome ongoing misconceptions and get more people to contribute by sharing this article and encouraging your mates to donate — whether they’re from the UK or not.