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Blood donation after COVID-19 vaccine: is it allowed?

The short answer: it depends. Here's the latest guidance.

WASHINGTON — Can you donate blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine? The answer's not as simple as you might expect.

According to the American Red Cross and Inova Blood Donor Services, you can donate blood, platelets and AB elite plasma after you've been vaccinated. 

There is no waiting period, as long as you're symptom-free and feeling good when you show up to donate.

But under guidance issued by the Food and Drug Administration, people vaccinated for COVID-19 currently can't donate convalescent plasma. 

The Red Cross says it is evaluating that restriction.

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Here's a tip if you plan to donate: bring your vaccine card with you. The Red Cross and Inova Blood Donor Services say they'll check which vaccine you got when show up. 

Only the Pfizer, Moderna or J&J vaccines have been granted Emergency Use Authorization in the U.S. But additional vaccines are being administered in other countries, including the AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines. 

If you donate at the Red Cross, there is no waiting period if you received the AstraZeneca, J&J, Moderna, Novavax or Pfizer vaccine. 

If you don't know which vaccine you got, you'll need to wait two extra weeks before you can donate. 

Inova Blood Donor Services is more restrictive. They only accept donations if you've received the Pfizer, Moderna or J&J vaccine. 

If you've received any other vaccine, Inova says you'll need to wait 12 months to donate.

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Blood donation has reached a critical low during the pandemic. It's a potentially life-threatening problem for many who rely on transfusions, including people fighting blood disorders, cancer and other health threats.

Many blood donation centers are issuing urgent calls for blood donors.

If you've been vaccinated and want to donate, call the center to confirm their guidelines.     

Click here to find a donation center near you.