Free antibody testing for blood donors

Free antibody testing for blood donors
Vitalant is encouraging anyone eligible to donate blood to do so as soon as possible. (Source: Vitalant)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - If you take the time to give blood, your donation could help more people than ever, not to mention give you a free perk that's never been done before. As Vitalant, formerly United Blood Services, reaches a critical need for blood, they are launching an idea that is very timely.

If you are healthy and can give blood, your donation will be tested for COVID-19. That means you can learn whether you have ever been exposed to the virus. Brandon Baker at Vitalant says, “It’s a free, easy way to come get that test where you don’t have to mess with insurance or anything else and you also have the added benefit of helping save someone’s life with your blood donation as you normally would. Your blood will also be tested for COVID antibodies. That way, you’ll know if you have those COVID antibodies built up and you can also come back at a later date and donate that plasma which will also help hospital patients who are battling COVID.”

It takes 10 to 14 days to get the results to know if you have COVID antibodies. Another convenience, he says, is you don’t have to come back to the blood center to learn the results. You can call or get that information online.

Of course, the hope is that any blood donor who tests positive indicating they have developed antibodies to fight COVID-19, will return to the center anyway to give plasma. Studies have shown that plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients can help current patients fight the coronavirus.

If you’d like to learn more about blood or plasma donations or schedule an appointment, go to BloodHero.org.

But walk-ins are welcome. You’ll find Vitalant at 48th and University and the old name, United Blood Services, is still on the front door.

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