Important information for Blood Donors regarding COVID-19

At New Zealand Blood Service, our priority is making all our sites safe to visit. Even though New Zealand has gone into lockdown the need for whole blood, plasma and platelet donations doesn’t stop.

We are encouraging all donors who are fit and healthy to continue with their donations.  We have created this page to keep you informed of the steps we are taking to keep our sites as safe as possible, and you safe when you come to give a blood donation. 

It is in times like these that we are truly blessed to have such a committed, loyal group of donors, and we thank everyone in the NZ Blood Service family for coming together to keep the supply of blood flowing for New Zealand.

We may implement more changes as time progresses, we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Kind regards,
Sam Cliffe
CEO

FAQs

Information for our donors and visitors

Please read the below important information regarding blood donation and COVID-19.

  • Our donor centres are safe places to visit and we are taking all necessary steps to ensure that stays that way.
  • Blood has a short shelf life (35 days), so eligible individuals are asked to donate to help ensure an adequate blood supply can be maintained. An outbreak could reduce the number of eligible donors.
  • All blood donors must be healthy, feeling well and free from respiratory illness symptoms to be eligible to give blood.
  • All healthy blood donors are asked to book appointments and keep commitments to donate blood.
  • If you do feel unwell, please reschedule or cancel your appointment. Please let us know, as we can try to fill your appointment space.
  • Donors who might feel unwell in the 48 hours after donating are asked to notify us immediately.
  • Routine blood donor screening measures, which include travel deferrals, are already in place to ensure individuals who are unwell, or have recently travelled to high-risk countries are deferred from donating blood. Check the travel tool here
  • By their very nature our donors are very caring and responsible people. Any donor at all unsure about their eligibility to donate is asked to call 0800 448 325 for further advice.
  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmissible by blood transfusion, and our strict screening process means we don’t allow people who are unwell to donate blood.

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Here are some measures put in place

  • The highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness are always followed in our donor centres and mobile blood drives. We also have extra measures in place to keep our staff and donors safe, including hand cleaning, sanitising and alcohol wipes to ensure our centres are safe for staff and donors.
  • All equipment used in the collection of blood is new, sterile and only used once.
  • We have introduced a four-week (28 day) travel deferral for any donor has returned from overseas.
  • We have introduced a four-week deferral for any donor who has been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. This means that if you have been in contact with someone who has had, or is suspected to have had COVID-19, then you will be unable to donate for 28 days from last date of contact with this person.
  • If you have had COVID-19 you must wait four weeks after you are free from all symptoms before you can give blood.

NZBS remains committed to the safety and wellbeing of our donors, staff and patients, and if there are any changes or new developments that may impact blood donations, we will let you know immediately. Our website and donor centres will be updated regularly with the latest information.

The need for blood is constant, so if you are eligible, fit and healthy please book an appointment to donate.

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Convalescent Plasma

21 May 2020 Media Release

08 May 2020 Media Release

01 May 2020 Media Release

17 April 2020 Media Release

09 April 2020 Media Release

02 April 2020 update

New Zealand's Blood Stock Levels Remain Healthy

Essential stock levels can only be maintained if donors continue to book appointments to donate 

New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) is sending a message of thanks to New Zealanders showing their support for blood donation during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Donors close to donor centres and mobile drives throughout New Zealand are continuing to make appointments to give blood. As a result, blood stocks are currently at a healthy level; with appointments very full for the next couple of weeks.  However, New Zealand Blood Service National Marketing and Communications Manager Asuka Burge says this situation will only continue if New Zealanders continue donating.

“Despite the obvious and very real challenges we are currently facing, New Zealand blood donors continue to prove their generosity by making appointments to donate, and adhering to the strict health and safety precautions we have in place in our donor centres and mobile drives,” says Burge. “Even in these extraordinary and unprecedented times, New Zealanders in need of blood and blood products are still able to rely on the kindness of donors.”

  • Blood stock levels currently remain at a healthy level
  • NZBS is asking donors who don’t yet have appointments, to book into available appointments slots later in April to help spread out donations to ensure a constant flow of donors
  • Red blood cells only last 35 days which is why donations are needed every week
  • NZBS needs eligible donors who are fit and healthy to continue to donate during the Level 4 lockdown
  • Donor centres and mobile drives are safe places to visit
  • Travel to a nearby donor centre or mobile blood drive is considered essential travel
  • NZBS is asking donors NOT to travel long distances to get to a donor centre or mobile drive
  • NZBS is advising donors over 70 to follow the Ministry of Health guidelines and stay safe at home.
  • Booking an appointment is essential.  Appointments help manage the flow of people in donor centres at any given time, and allow NZBS to forecast supply, ensuring it is collecting sufficient quantities of blood types and blood products.
  • Donors without an appointment may be turned away or asked to book for another time.

The need for blood is constant.  There is no substitute for blood; blood donors save lives.

For more information on donating blood during the COVID-19 lockdown, visit https://www.nzblood.co.nz/give-blood/covid-19-updates/

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NZBS will continue to send out regular updates on blood stock levels during the Level 4 lockdown period.

About NZBS:

New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) is a not-for-profit Crown entity responsible for the collection, processing, testing and storage and distribution of all blood and blood products in New Zealand. 

NZBS relies on voluntary and non-remunerated blood donations from individuals around the country in order to provide a constant supply of precious blood and blood products used by health services to save thousands of lives.

For more information please contact:

Asuka Burge, New Zealand Blood Service, 09 523 6486, 0272 726 437  
Asuka.burge@nzblood.co.nz

Sandy Trigg, Network Communication, (09) 306 5811, 021 231 9406
Sandy.trigg@networkcommunication.co.nz

Released on behalf of New Zealand Blood Service by Network Communication

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01 April 2020 update

  • We are asking all donors to make an appointment.  This will help us manage demand and social distancing and flow donors through the sites. Donors without an appointment may be turned away or asked to book for another time.
  • We really appreciate that all our donors are working hard to get to a session. However we do not wish for any donors to put themselves at risk travelling long distances if they don’t have a safe mode of transportation. Please continue to donate blood if it is safe and practical for you to do so.  We appreciate your commitment, but your health and safety remains a priority.
  • For donors aged 70 years and over we recommend that you follow the Ministry of Health guidelines and stay safe at home.

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25 March 2020 update

As of Thursday 26th March we will be putting new processes in place to comply with Government guidelines and keep our donors and staff safe.

  • One of our team will greet donors on arrival outside the donor centre to ask general health questions and manage the flow of donors.
  • Where possible social distancing will be maintained for all our donors including in the reception area, waiting area, donor booths, and on the donor beds.
  • Restrictions on the number of donors on site will be implemented.
  • Alcohol hand sanitisers will be readily available throughout the donor floor and donors and staff will be expected to use these regularly.
  • All equipment will be wiped down after EACH donation.
  • All needles and bags are single use and will be disposed of in a hygienic manner.
  • Protective gear such as gloves will be worn where necessary
  • All shared areas and donor touched areas will be wiped down after use.
  • We have implemented a daily checklist to ensure everything is sanitised before and after donations.

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23 March 2020 update

  • New travel deferral of 28 days (4 weeks) will apply to anyone who has returned from overseas.
  • Travelling to donate blood is classified as essential travel

New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) has a dedicated working group of experts that includes medical staff and donor care teams who are closely monitoring global developments in relation to COVID-19 and advising on any specific actions required. NZBS has robust processes in place to ensure the safety of New Zealand’s blood supply and the health and well-being of our donors.

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17 March 2020 Media Release