National Vaccination Drive Could Worsen Already Depressed Blood Stocks

ZIMBABWE’s blood bank which is currently running at less than a day’s supply of blood could experience a further decline in blood stocks during the forthcoming mass COVID-19 vaccination drive as donors who receive jabs are recommended to wait for at least 28 days before donating blood after receiving their shot.

By Michael Gwarisa

According to the Food and Drug and Drug Administration (FDA), individuals who get jabs from vaccines such as the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the  Sinopharm which are replication defective virus vaccines must wait two weeks before donating blood. However, if someone got an inactivated or RNA based COVID-19 vaccine, like the ones manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer, there is no waiting period to donate blood. The Red Cross recommends that if a person does not know which type of COVID-19 vaccine they received they must wait four weeks before donating.

In an Interview with HealthTimes, NBSZ Chief Executive Officer Ms Lucy Marowa said even though the impact won’t be that significant, it will be felt for a short period.

We anticipate that there will be some impact, specifically reduced collections for a short while as the vaccination campaign progressively covers a greater portion of the society. Nevertheless, with good planning and strategic alignment as explained above, the impact is likely to be minimal,” said Ms Marowa.

The blood bank recently sent out a plea, asking blood donors to come forward and donate blood following indications that blood stocks were critically low. Ms She however said they will be working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) to get up to date data regarding the vaccination program so as to plan accordingly during g the vaccination period.

“It is our belief that it will not be possible to have everyone throughout the country vaccinated simultaneously thereby coming to a situation where everyone is ineligible to donate blood. The phased approach being taken means that some sections of the population will be ineligible whilst others can still donate blood.

“As NBSZ, we will work with our parent ministry in order to have up to date information on which sections of society have been vaccinated and when this was done so that we use that information to plan our collection cycle.”

Zimbabwe has since received 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China and another tranche of 75 000 doses from the Indian government.

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