Red Cross experiences plasma machine shortage, pushes back recovered COVID-19 patients donation appointments

Coronavirus Updates

WEBER COUNTY (ABC4 News) – Some people have been having issues when it comes to donating plasma for antibody treatment. This comes after the American Red Cross asked people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma to help those currently suffering from the virus.

Weber County resident Antonio Cruz Martinez says he’s in the process of donating his plasma for this antibody treatment. Martinez got a letter from American Red Cross cancelling his appointment to donate his plasma.

RELATED: First patient in Utah to be treated with plasma after contracting COVID-19 is sent home

“They actually told me a pretty legitimate excuse, that they were shipping machines back to the east coast to help out with the blood drive there,” said Martinez.

The American Red Cross sent ABC4 a statement saying they have temporarily relocated some of their plasma collection machines to coronavirus hotspots. 

Because of this, there are less plasma machines available, but you can still donate, the Red Cross says your appointment will be pushed back or they will direct you to a site with machines.

RELATED: Recovered from COVID-19? Your plasma might be the key to helping others

“They didn’t have any machines available, so they had to book the appointment later on,” said Martinez.

Martinez says he decided to book an appointment with Biolife in Layton, because he didn’t want to wait any longer.

“They met with me immediately, and they said like you know, we’ll fast track you to donation,” he said.

Biolife is asking for those who have been symptom-free of COVID-19 for at least two weeks.

“It’s kind of crazy like being back to normal, just cuz’ like you I don’t know you miss taking fresh breathes of air, you take that for granted, you take walking for granted,” said Martinez.

According to a release from American Red Cross, recently, only a small percentage of donors qualify under FDA eligibility guidelines to give. In Utah, nearly 20 individuals have donated convalescent plasma to help patients in need.

For more information on American Red Cross donations go to www.redcrossblood.org.

For more information on Biolife donating, visit the company online.

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