Frequently Asked Questions

Are your Centres safe for staff and donors?

Staff have been advised to follow Ministry of Health guidelines and the public has been well informed not to attend public areas if they are feeling unwell.

  • One of our team at reception will ask general health questions.
  • Under Level 2 social distancing has been reduced to at least 1 metre. We will follow these guidelines in our reception area, waiting area, donor booths, and on the donor beds.
  • Restrictions on the number of donors on site will remain.
  • Alcohol hand sanitisers will be readily available throughout the donor floor. 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 optional to wear by staff.
  • Collections staff will no longer be wearing masks on the donor floor.
  • Masks will available (on request) for donors who prefer to wear them during their donation
  • 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.

Blood donor eligibility requires blood donors to be fit and healthy at the time of donation, so we do not foresee people who are unwell attending our donor centres or mobile blood drives.

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What kind of extra cleaning/sanitising protocols are 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 antiseptic 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.
Frequency of cleaning has been increased for all equipment and surfaces, including donor beds which will be wiped down after each use.

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What social distancing practices are in place?

We have restricted the number of donors on site so social distancing can be maintained, and we’re asking all donors to book appointments and arrive at their appointed times to manage this flow.

We are allowing ample space between donor beds as usual, to allow effective social distancing. 

There will be points during the donation process where social distancing cannot be achieved. Be assured that protocols are in place to maximise the safety to both donor and staff. Our teams are also working to ensure that all our donors have the space to wait and rest before and after donation without being in close contact. 

We will continually review how we can improve our donor facilities as the situation progresses and will always comply with Ministry of Health guidelines.

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Will staff be wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)?

We would like to reassure donors that all of our sites follow the safety guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health.

At Level 1 & 2 our collections staff will no longer use masks on the donor floor, but masks will be available on request for donors should they wish to wear them. Gloves are optional for staff.

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What screening measures are in place?

Routine blood donor screening measures – which include travel deferrals – that are already in place are designed to prevent individuals with who are unwell, or who have recently travelled from donating blood.

NZBS is deferring all blood donors who have travelled to ANY country in the world for 28 days following their return.

Additional deferrals have been put in place for donors who may have been in contact with a person who is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19; and anyone diagnosed or suspected of having contracted COVID-19. 

Appropriate measures will be put in place as we continue to monitor the situation.

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You are screening donors who are unwell, telling them to delay giving blood. What about people who have the virus but no symptoms?

We rely on donors to follow Ministry of Health advice and guidelines and stay at home if they have a fever or are feeling unwell.

Before booking an appointment donors need to check the eligibility criteria– which includes recent travel, and read the latest updates on our website.

At all our sites our team at reception will conduct a short pre-screen interview and advise donors of the protocol’s we have in place. We’ll be enforcing social distancing including limiting the number of donors at one time can observe the minimum 1 metre distance rule, separating out our beds and waiting chairs and making sure we have safe practises throughout the donor journey. We also have hand sanitisers throughout the donor floor for donors and staff to use on a regular basis.

Cleaning is conducted on all equipment and surfaces, including donor beds which will be wiped down after each use.

The health of our donors and staff are priority, and to keep the collection of blood going we need to make sure everyone stays safe.

Our regular procedure also includes requiring donors to notify us if they become unwell following a donation through our 0800 SAFE BLOOD number so that appropriate measures can be taken.

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What if one of your staff gets COVID-19?

In the event that one of our staff member tests positive for COVID-19 we will follow Public Health advice regarding contact identification and tracking. We have provisions in place for deep cleaning any of our sites if required.

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How do I know if I should donate?

If you meet the blood donor eligibility criteria (found on our website) and are fit and healthy and completely well after recovering from any cough, cold, flu (minimum 7 days) – please book an appointment to donate.

If you are unsure, please call 0800 448 325 and ask to speak with one of our nurses.

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If I need to prove I have booked an appointment - what can I show?

Donors can show:

-       The email confirmation that they receive on booking an appointment.
-       Mobile phone app.
-       Text message reminder.

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What donations do you need?

All donation types are needed – whole blood, plasma and platelet donations.

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Are you open on Saturdays?

Some of our sites may have Saturday collections but this will depend on staffing levels and the demand for blood – please check our website or app to find times and dates you can donate, alternatively call our contact centre on 0800 448 325.

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Should I come in if I feel unwell?

NO! Any donor who feels unwell will need to reschedule or cancel their appointment, so we can try and fill those spaces.  If you are unsure if you should donate, please contact us and speak to a nurse on 0800 448 325.

Donors who feels unwell in the 48 hours after donating, are asked to notify us immediately.

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Can I bring my children or a support person to donate with me?

We are unable to allow your children or support person to attend blood donations with you.

This is to ensure the number of people in the donor centre at any one time is kept to a minimum.

We are following the Ministry of Health guidelines around social distancing to keep a safe environment for donors and our staff.  

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I’m over 70-year-old, should I be leaving the house to donate blood?

NZBS is advising donors over 70 to follow the Ministry of Health guidelines.

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Will eligibility dates be changed?

The stand down period between donations is in place for the health and safety of our donors.  At this stage there are no changes to the stand down period – 3 months for whole blood donations, and 2 weeks for plasma/ platelet donations.

We will be posting any important donor information on our website and social channels, so please check in regularly.

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Why do I need to book an appointment?

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.

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Can I donate without an appointment?

Not at this time. We are asking all donors to book an appointment to enable us to manage the flow and social distancing within the donor centres and mobiles.

Please do not be offended if you are turned away if you show up without an appointment. The best thing to do is to book an appointment!

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What is happening with mobile blood drives?

The situation is evolving as some venues that we hold blood drives in are not available. However, we are looking at alternative options and where possible asking donors to travel to one of our donors centres if it is within easy reach.

Please check our mobile app to find those mobiles that are still operating, and we will notify donors if blood drives they are booked into are cancelled.

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Will donating blood compromise my immunity and make me more likely to get sick afterwards considering the circumstances/virus?

There is no evidence that donating blood affects a person’s immunity and donating blood will not make you more likely to get sick.

To be eligible to give blood you must be fit, healthy and well. After you donate, your body will replace the fluids of the donated blood in just 24 hours. The red blood cells will be replaced in about 6 to 8 weeks.

However as with our regular procedure, if you feel unwell following a donation please notify us through our 0800 SAFE BLOOD number so that appropriate measures can be taken.

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Will I still be able to donate if I work with sick people? (e.g. hospital worker)

As long as you are healthy and well and meet the blood donor eligibility criteria you can donate.

Donors who may have been in contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19; and anyone diagnosed as a confirmed case or a suspected case of COVID-19 will be deferred for 28 days.

If you have any concerns or need clarification, please call 0800 448 325 and ask to speak with a nurse.

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If there is a cold going around the house can I donate?

As long as you are healthy and well and meet the blood donor eligibility criteria you can donate.

Donors who may have been in contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19; and anyone diagnosed as a confirmed case or a suspected case of COVID-19 will be deferred for 28 days.

If you have any concerns or need clarification, please call 0800 448 325 and ask to speak with a nurse.

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I’ve been in contact with someone who has gone into self-isolation – can I still donate?

As long as you are healthy and well and meet the blood donor eligibility criteria you can donate.

Donors who may have been in contact with a person with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19; and anyone diagnosed as a confirmed case or a suspected case of COVID-19 will be deferred for 28 days

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Do you test for COVID-19?

There is currently no blood test available for COVID-19. However, NZBS routinely test all blood donations for viruses that pose a health risk to the recipient.

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is not known to be transmitted by transfusion which is why a test is also not required.

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Why do you need to continue collecting blood when there is such a serious virus about?

There is no alternative for patients in need of blood and blood products, and blood donors save lives. 

We need and value every donation that is made as blood has a short shelf life (35 days) and needs to be replenished.  Currently fewer than 4% of the New Zealand population are donors. To ensure the country can keep up with demand, NZBS needs to collect 3,500 donations every week.

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Is there a risk to blood supply, if large number of donors become sick?

If the outbreak continues to spread, additional challenges could arise, which could potentially reduce the number of eligible donors.

To ensure an adequate blood supply it is imperative that healthy, eligible individuals donate blood to ensure New Zealand’s blood supply can be maintained at all times.

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Has there been a decline in donations?

We are starting to see an increase in the number of available appointments, appointment cancellations and donors not showing up for appointments, which is possibly because of life starting to return back to normal.

We appreciate that people’s schedules are busy once more, but would like to take this opportunity to ask our donors to keep donating, as blood is essential.

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Will the donated blood and plasma be used to help COVID-19 patients?

If a COVID-19 patient goes into intensive care it is highly likely that blood transfusions will be required.

NZBS is also collecting plasma from patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19. This is known as a convalescent plasma donation because the plasma will contain antibodies to the illness, which can be transfused to provide a level of immunity against the illness in patients who have not yet recovered. To find out more please visit https://www.nzblood.co.nz/give-blood/covid-19-updates/convalescent-plasma/

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What about the safety of blood from donors who may be infected without knowing it, and not showing any symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 poses no risk to patients receiving blood transfusions as there are no cases of respiratory viruses being transmitted by transfusion.

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What should I do if I become unwell after giving blood?

Please contact NZBS immediately if in the 14 days following your donation you become unwell by phoning 0800 SAFE BLOOD. This includes if you have become unwell and are awaiting a test result for COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19.

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