Covid-19 / Coronavirus

COVID-19 measures taken by IBTS  - Patients will still require blood and platelets

As a frontline essential service, it is vital that the IBTS continues to collect enough blood and platelets to maintain the supplies to our hospitals during the Covid-19 situation. Hospital demand is now back at Pre Covid levels so it is important our donation clinics collect enough blood each week.

In keeping with public health guidelines the IBTS will work to constantly ensure that our staff, donors and patients are kept as safe as possible. To achieve this, the IBTS has decided to make changes to how our clinics operate. 

We are asking all donors to make an appointment to attend their upcoming clinic

For all clinics we have introduced appointment slots that prioritise regular donors who have made appointments. We will limit the number of appointments for donors presenting at clinic every 10 minutes, and manage the subsequent flow of donors throughout the clinic.

We appreciate that this will be a big change for donors but will allow us to put the safety of our donors and staff to the fore, by enabling reasonable social distancing throughout the clinic, reducing queues, and improving the time it takes donors to complete their donation.

Eligible donors for upcoming clinics will be sent a text message, including your donor ID number, detailing how you can contact us to make an appointment to donate. We urge you to call us to make an appointment to guarantee your registration slot, and to ensure we collect enough blood at each clinic.

New and Returning donors are also welcome to call to make an appointment for any upcoming clinics.

Possible Changes to Venues

During Covid19 we may need to alter the locations of planned donation clinics due to the unavailability of our normal venues. If this happens, we will ask you to attend an alternative clinic that is reasonably close to you. We appreciate this might be inconvenient for some donors, but encourage you to attend your local clinics in these different venues. We would like to remind all donors that our fixed centre clinics in D’Olier Street, Stillorgan, and St Finbarrs Cork, will operate as normal, as will our Apheresis clinics.

During Covid-19, some donors may not be able to give blood

Donors aged 70 and over

Unfortunately donors aged 70 and over are unable to give blood due to government guidelines.

Donors who were treated in hospital for Covid-19

Donors who were treated in hospital, who have now fully recovered from Covid-19  will need to provide a letter from their GP before they can donate.

Covid-19 Vaccinations

Donors who have had a HPRA approved Covid-19 vaccination such as the Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson/Janssen or Astra Zeneca vaccines, must wait 7 days after receiving the vaccine before they can donate, so long as they are feeling well and asymptomatic.

As with all vaccines there are different deferral periods from when you are vaccinated, click here for more information on deferral periods for other vaccines.  The deferral period takes into consideration the type of vaccine (live or non-live) and allows enough time for the donor to be recovered from side-effects before donating.  Deferrals for ‘live’ vaccines are longer than for ‘non-live’ to allow time to elapse so that the vaccine is not transmitted to the patient in the donated blood.  

Most Healthcare workers can donate

  • Yes you can donate  - If you are a health care worker, either clinical or non-clinical, with no known contact with Covid-19 cases even if routine testing is being carried out every e.g. 2 weeks. If you donate contact the IBTS is you are given a positive test result within 5 days of donating.
  • No you cannot donate - If you are working in a healthcare setting involving contact with known or suspected cases of Covid-19, such as working on a ward with a person who has a suspected or confirmed case of Covid- 19, you cannot donate at present.

First Time or Returning donors (5 years since last donation)

New and returning donors can now give blood again. Before contacting us, you should check your eligibility as many people are unable to give blood temporarily or permanently due to measures put in place to protect immune system depressed patients who might receive your blood.

If you are eligible and there is an upcoming clinic near you, please contact the donorline 1850 731 137 to make an appointment. If you are eligible but there no upcoming clinics for now, we ask you to Register Interest.Then we will be able to contact you next time there is a clinic in your area. 

Ensuring our clinics remain a safe place to give blood

In addition, we have introduced the following measures to keep our donors and staff safe:

  • On arrival to a clinic, you will be met  at the door and will be asked questions about your health and travel history.
  • If you have any symptoms of Covid-19, you will not be allowed to enter the clinic and you must be fully recovered for at least 28 days before you can donate.
  • If you have travelled outside the island of Ireland in the last 28 days, you will not be allowed to enter the clinic.
  • They will also check that you have an appointment, or allocate you the next available appointment slot if any remain. Please respect the member of staff if you are advised that you are unable to donate today. We will be delighted to see you again very soon.
  • Hand gel is provided and all donors must use it.
  • For social distancing purposes, the seating throughout the clinic has been reduced to reduce close contact among donors. Please do not move any of the chairs in the clinic.
  • All relevant surfaces in our clinics are cleaned frequently with approved disinfectant.
  • Only donors will be able to access the donation area. Please note, in the interest of safety of staff and other donors, children under the age of 18 will not be able to enter the donation clinic.
  • Medical-grade (surgical) face masks are mandatory – Donors must wear medical -grade face masks on clinic with the exception of pre and post donation hydration. Other face coverings, such as visors and snoods, will not be accepted, this is in the interest of public health. This is a safety measure to protect donors and staff from Covid-19. Medical-grade masks are more effective in preventing the transmission of coronavirus. This is important as the newer variants of coronavirus  are more infectious. A mask will be offered to all donors who are wearing a face covering when they attend clinic.  Hand sanitisers are available in clinic to use before and after mask removal/replacement. IBTS staff will be wearing masks throughout the process.

There is no evidence that Covid-19 has been transmitted by blood transfusion. All of the above measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 between donors and our staff.
 

Please do not attend an IBTS clinic if you have any of the following symptoms (whether you have travelled to an affected area or not):

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
  • Any other respiratory symptoms

In addition:

  • Please do not attend an IBTS clinic if you have travelled outside of the island of Ireland in the last 28 days.
  • You must wait 14 days from the last time you were in contact with a person with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection.
  • You must wait 14 days from the last time you were in contact with a person who has travelled from a country where mandatory hotel quarantine is required on return to Ireland, if they are a household contact you must wait 14 days after theperson has completed their mandatory quarantine(14 days). This will be 28 days after the person has returned to Ireland.

Please check your eligibility to donate before attending a clinic to avoid disappointment. For more information on eligibility click here.

Thank you and don’t forget to make that appointment!

All staff in the Irish Blood Transfusion Service would like to thank all our donors for their continued support during this challenging time.