Among the strands of disinformation that accompanied the vaccination campaign against Covid-19 is the one that focuses on the blood of the vaccinated, considered unsafe or harmful by many conspiracy theorists.
According to some false narratives, mRna vaccination would have dangerous adverse effects on human blood and would be able to create clots that would effectively prevent transfusions. According to others, the anti-Covid vaccine would be able to weaken human antibodies until they are destroyed; then there are also those who have – erroneously – claimed that some type of ban on vaccinated donors had been imposed by organizations such as the Red Cross or the Association of Italian Blood Volunteers (Avis).
In fact, blood donations from vaccinated patients are safe. The scientific evidence tells us so. Here’s how things stand.
The Circulation of Fake News
Misinformation about donations from vaccinated patients has not only circulated in Italy. Although there have been cases that closely concerned our country (such as the one that erroneously attributed responsibility for having thrown away some bags of blood from vaccinated patients due to the presence of clots), the false news on the blood of vaccinated particularly widespread internationally.
In the past, for example, we at Facta.news had checked news concerning Australia, Japan and the United States. In the first case, a video had been released which claimed that the Australian government had forbidden vaccinated people from donating blood: in reality, the news had been denied by both the Ministry of Health and the local Red Cross. Nor was it true that blood donations from vaccinated patients had been definitively suspended in Japan. It had been a temporary measure, waiting for the competent authorities to clarify the criteria and methods of withdrawals. Finally, the American Red Cross has never claimed that mRna vaccination could destroy the antibodies of the vaccinated.
As shown by a search carried out within the Google Fact-check Explorer, a tool that allows you to view the various fact-checking articles written on a given topic, there are many insights dedicated to the topic and they have been published by fact-checking projects checking active in various countries, from France to Northern Ireland, from the United Kingdom to India.
What Does Science Say?
In reality, the blood of vaccinated people is safe, it can be donated and used for transfusions. In Italy, the National Blood Center, set up at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) in 2007, has repeatedly reiterated that “vaccinated people can safely donate blood” and that “the bags taken from those who are immunized are used” for transfusions “without any difference with the others”.
From a report drawn up in December 2022 by Avis, it emerges that there are over 1,800 patients in our country who need a transfusion every day, many of them due to serious pathologies that have made the service of blood collection centers indispensable even in the tougher than the pandemic.
Can Covid-19 be Transmitted With a Transfusion?
No, and the national president of Avis, Gianpietro Briola, also intervened on the matter, who listed the news among one of the “lies” and “baseless legends” circulating in recent months.
The scientific literature available today, as reconstructed by Avis, agrees that there is no evidence of transfusion transmission of the SarS-CoV-2 virus. Transmission occurs, however, mostly via droplets (droplets) and aerosols when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or breathes in the vicinity of others.
Because you have to wait a few days between the vaccine and the donation
The Italian authorities advise waiting 48 hours between the administration of the anti-Covid vaccine (or a booster dose) and the donation.
This is due to the fact that the vaccines available today in our country are based on inactivated viruses or are recombinant protein vaccines (based on the Spike protein) and it is assumed that possible adverse effects to be monitored may occur within two days. The intent is to preserve the health of the donor, even before that of the recipient.
In the event that following a dose of the anti-Covid vaccine the patient presents symptoms such as fatigue or fever, the invitation is to wait at least seven days after the symptoms have resolved before proceeding with a donation.
The situation is different in the case of an anti-Covid vaccine based on live attenuated viruses (produced by generating a genetically weakened version of the virus that replicates in a limited way), which – at the time of writing – are not available in Italy. In these cases, the suggestion is to wait at least four weeks and, only then and in case of good health, proceed with the donation.
Is Donating Blood And Plasma The Same Thing?
No, blood and plasma are two different things: in the second case, in fact, we mean the liquid component of blood, normally also composed of a solid part (red and white blood cells and platelets). Consequently, the donations are also different.
As explained by Avis, there are in fact different types of donations: that of whole blood, that of plasma (called plasmapheresis), that of platelets (plateletpheresis) and the multiple donation of blood components. For whole blood sampling, the volume taken is established by law at 450 ml, for a maximum of four donations per year for men and women of non-fertile age, and two donations per year for women of childbearing age. . For plasmapheresis, on the other hand, the volume withdrawn is between a minimum of 600 ml and a maximum of 700 ml, for a total of a maximum of 1.5 liters per month and 12 liters per year.
As specified by the Italian Ministry of Health, both whole blood and plasma are essential for patients who need transfusions and, in the case of a donor vaccinated against Covid-19, it is possible to proceed with one and the other donation.
Among the strands of disinformation on the anti-Covid vaccines widespread in Italy is the one that considers the blood of vaccinated patients unsafe or dangerous, so much so as to advise against its use for transfusions.
In reality, the international scientific literature and the bodies that, in the various countries, deal with the collection of donations agree that the blood of those who have received one or more doses of the anti-Covid vaccine is safe.
In Italy, donations have proved to be essential for the health of patients who needed them throughout the course of the pandemic. But it is not true that Covid-19 can be transmitted with a transfusion. In our country, blood and plasma donations (different from each other) were carried out in compliance with the rules to limit the contagion among those present as much as possible. In case of recent vaccination or booster, the expert advice is to wait 48 hours before proceeding with the donation.
This article is originally published on facta.news