Flu shots have no effect on blood donor eligibility

October 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm
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(Image credit:  jackiso / 123RF

Image credit: jackiso / 123RF

By Dayna Kerecman Myers

Although flu shots have just arrived at some pharmacies, we are already receiving lots of sick cancellations from blood donors.

With the onslaught of the flu season every year, we also receive a lot of questions from regular donors, asking whether they can donate blood after receiving a flu shot.

In response, SBC Director of Donor Services Regina Driscoll says, “We want to reassure our blood donors that flu shots have no effect on your eligibility to give blood. In fact, by helping you stay healthy through the flu season, a flu shot could also help you continue your regular donation schedule this winter. Last year, we experienced a severe shortage of donors during the winter because there were so many cancellations due to the flu.” Already this year, with flu season just beginning, we’re running very low on platelets and O-negative blood.

There is also no waiting period after a flu shot. Provided you’re feeling well the day you donate, you can donate immediately after receiving a flu shot.

Flu shots are available at most pharmacies. According to the CDC, everyone who is at least six months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. This recommendation has been in place since February 24, 2010 when CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people.

While everyone should get a flu vaccine this season, it’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated, including:

  • People who are at high risk of developing serious complications (like pneumonia) if they get sick with the flu.
  • People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People younger than five years (and especially those younger than two), and people 65 years and older.
  • People who live with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications.
  • For a complete list, please see the CDC’s People Who Are at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.