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Hemotherapy Heroes: Donating COVID-19 Plasma

We are no longer accepting COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Donations

Chester Andrzejewski, medical director of the Baystate Blood Donor Program, wrote the following letter to potential donors:

Thank you for your interest in donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (CCP) in our Blood Donor Center's “Hemotherapy Heroes Program” at Baystate Medical Center (BMC).

As many of you may know, we have taken a temporary hiatus from collecting CCP donations in our donor center due to regulatory changes imposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that were announced in early September 2020. These changes, which were made in order to standardize the CCP blood products collected by blood donor centers around the country, focused on the determination of antibody levels to the virus and the subsequent labelling of collected CCP products with respect to their antibody content.

We are thankful to all of you that helped us build our CCP inventory during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.

Although we have continued and will continue in our efforts to meet the evolving requirements put forth by the FDA with regard to CCP collections, the severity, current widespread nature of the second wave of this pandemic, and the nationwide need for CCP donations, all have prompted us to realistically reevaluate our abilities to collect CCP at this juncture in time.

While we remain committed to this treatment strategy and our Hemotherapy Heros Program for CCP collections, we have decided in the best interests of our local community and the nation, to refer at the present time any of our donors who are interested in CCP donations to our regional blood supplier, the American Red Cross (ARC), for the collection of this product. The ARC can collect CCP by both apheresis and whole blood collection methods and they are able to distribute this precious blood product to our fellow citizens not just here in Massachusetts but across our country.

A recent notification from the ARC to us indicated their CCP distributions outpaced their collections and they are asking healthcare entities like BMC’s Blood Bank/Transfusion Medicine Service to bring awareness to recovered COVID-19 patients of the on-going importance of regularly donating this special product.

If you would like to continue to participate in helping our fellow citizens afflicted with this unprecedented disease, we encourage you to contact the ARC at 1-800-733-2767 to make an appointment to donate at their Springfield, MA location.

We should note that the need to donate other types of blood products is also critical at this time and if you desire to contribute in this effort rather than in the collection of CCP products, we would gladly welcome your donation with us.

Thank you for your support of our Blood Donor Center and our Hemotherapy Heros Program. Godspeed.

Chester Andrzejewski, Ph.D, M.D.
Medical Director
Baystate Medical Center Blood Bank/Transfusion Medicine Service and Blood Donor Program