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HomeFact CheckHere’s The Truth Behind Viral Image Of Red Cross Blood Donation Directive...

Here’s The Truth Behind Viral Image Of Red Cross Blood Donation Directive For COVID-19 Vaccine Recipients

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Claim
COVID-19 vaccine affects the eligibility criteria of a blood donor, that’s why the American Red Cross directs its recipients to check their eligibility before donating the blood.

Fact
Red Cross does not debar any COVID-19 vaccine recipients for blood donation, and follows FDA guidelines. As per the eligibility criteria, those who took non-replicating, inactivated, or mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines by specific manufacturers can donate blood immediately if they are in good health.  Others need to wait for two weeks from the vaccination to donate blood.

An alleged screengrab of a questionnaire from the American Red Cross website directing the recipients of COVID-19 vaccine to call on a designated number to determine their eligibility for blood donation has created an unrest on social media platforms. Those sharing the image are rhetorically asking users whether they “still believe that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective?” or if the Red cross is “admitting that the vaccine contaminates blood?”

Multiple social media users shared an alleged screengrab from the American Red Cross insinuating it to be proof that COVID-19 vaccines were not “safe and effective.” The image states stating “Have you EVER had a Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine? If you answer “YES” to this question, please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) before coming in to donate to determine if this will affect your eligibility.”

Such posts can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

The viral screengrab has created a social media frenzy with several users commenting that they knew “this would be a problem,” or “never believed vaccines were safe,” among others.

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Fact Check/Verification

We began our investigation by verifying the authenticity of the viral screengrab, and looked up keywords “Red Cross, and Rapidpass” on Google. This led us to the Rapidpass section of the official website of the Red Cross. This pass summarises the requisite information about the donor based on a series of questions, and helps in speeding up the donation process. The pass is filed only on the day of blood donation.

Prior to filing the questionnaire, Rapidpass lists a number of conditions that bar a person from donating blood. However, we did not spot “COVID-19 vaccine” in the same.

The question on COVID-19 vaccination was also listed in the same, thereby confirming that the viral screengrab is not fabricated.

Screengrab from Red Cross website

We found the disclaimer about the eligibility for donation in multiple cases such as blood disease, ear or body piercing and foreign travel among others.

Screengrabs from Red Cross website

We continued our investigation to understand the eligibility criteria for blood donation in depth. On scanning through the website, we found a section on “immunisation and vaccination” clarifying that donors who have received COVID-19 Vaccine and COVID-19 Booster Shot are acceptable if 

  • They were vaccinated with a non-replicating, inactivated, or RNA-based COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, Janssen/J&J, Moderna, Novavax, or Pfizer providing you are symptom-free and fever-free.

In other cases

  •  Wait 2 weeks if you were vaccinated with a live attenuated COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wait 2 weeks if you were vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine but do not know if it was a non-replicating, inactivated, RNA based vaccine or a live attenuated vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine recipient
Screengrab from Red Cross website

The website had listed such eligibility criterias for multiple vaccines such as SHINGRIX vaccine, Smallpox vaccine and hepatitis B vaccines among others.

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We also came across a joint statement by AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross clarifying,  “Blood donations from individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine approved or authorised for use in the U.S. are safe for transfusion. Similar to other vaccines such as those for measles, mumps or influenza, COVID-19 vaccines are designed to generate an immune response to help protect an individual from illness, but vaccine components themselves do not replicate through blood transfusions or alter a blood recipients’ DNA.”

Adding, “In summary, there is no scientific evidence that demonstrates adverse outcomes from the transfusions of blood products collected from vaccinated donors and, therefore, no medical reason to distinguish or separate blood donations from individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccination.”

In a release dated February 23, 2024, the Red Cross stated, “The American Red Cross wants to remind the public that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine does not make you ineligible to donate blood and blood donations from those who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 are safe for transfusion.”

Screengrab from Red Cross website

“The FDA permits individuals to donate blood with no wait period after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they are feeling well and symptom free, and the vaccine they received is one approved by the FDA for use in the US,” it added

 “Those who report they have received a COVID-19 vaccine are asked to provide the name of the manufacturer to ensure it is an FDA approved vaccine. If the donor cannot remember the name of the manufacturer, they are asked to wait two weeks from their vaccination to give blood,” read the statement.

A tweet by the American Red Cross of Tennessee, dated February 24, 2024, also clarified that recipients of COVID-19 vaccines are eligible to donate blood.

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Conclusion

A screengrab from the Red Cross website directing COVID-19 vaccine recipients to check if they meet the eligibility criteria is misleadingly shared to question the safety and effectiveness of Coronavirus jabs.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Joint Statement By AABB, America’s Blood Centers and  American Red Cross, Dated January 27, 2023
American Red Cross Website


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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