LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - New changes to blood donation rules will allow certain veterans who previously couldn’t give blood to begin doing so.
Restrictions have been lifted for people who spent time in many European countries and previously couldn’t give blood due to Mad Cow Disease risks.
In a military-centric area like southwest Oklahoma, Jennifer Risinger with the Oklahoma Blood Institute believes the veterans are ready and willing to give blood.
“We hear from veterans all the time that say they used to donate blood until the FDA put that change on that they weren’t able to give anymore and they still check in all the time to see if they’re eligible to give yet. The FDA has been looking into this for a while and now that they’re going to be able to give, I know there’s going to be so many people who are going to be so excited. They gave back to their country now they want to give back to their community,” Risinger said.
Risinger said just allowing those veterans to give should bring a big boost, but it’s far from the only change made by the FDA.
“Used to be if you traveled to a malaria-risk area or got an ear piercing that wasn’t at a state-licensed facility or maybe a blood transfusion, you had to wait 12 months to donate blood. Now that deferral is only 3 months,” Risinger said.
These changes come as the need for blood has continued to grow over the last week.
“Not only is there a blood shortage because of COVID-19, that’s something we’ve been dealing with since this happened in March but now with this winter weather we’ve been having, we’ve had blood drives that have been canceled or people that didn’t feel like they could safely get to us to donate blood. We’re in need of blood for that as well,” Risinger said.
Risinger said right now they’re also hoping to spread the truth about misconceptions about giving blood with diabetes, high blood pressure or after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As long as it’s under control that day and you’re feeling well, please come see us. We take your blood pressure and we make sure it’s within normal guidelines when you come to donate. Also, people think if they got the COVID vaccine they’re not able to donate but as long as you got the Pfizer or Moderna you’re good to donate, you can even donate the same day,” Risinger said.
You can find out if you specifically can donate by calling (405) 419 – 1538 or by going here.