In various parts around America, there is an urgent need for COVID-19 convalescent plasma donors. In Chicago, Illinois, the first responders (police and firefighters), along with the Chicago Medical Society and blood collection organization Vitalant, collaborate to recruit donors while way down in El Paso, Texas, University Medical Center of El Paso , El Paso Children’s Hospital, and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso urge those who have recovered from COVID-19 to give back and donate convalescent plasma.
Chicago First Responders Seek Support from Donors
Illinois has been hit hard with about 112,000 COVID-19 cases and 4,884 deaths as of May 26, 2020. Chicago is part of Cook County, which has about 5.2 million people. With 63,690 cases in the county—representing about 57% of the total statewide—approximately 2,889 have died in the county. Chicago has faced more severe COVID-19-based conditions than many other urban areas.
Vitalant is the nation’s largest independent blood provider and recently launched a COVID-19 program to accelerate blood plasma donations from those who have recovered from the virus. This “convalescent plasma” contains antibodies that can give patients extra help to fight back against a multiplying virus.
Recently, the Chicago Medical Society and Vitalant formed an alliance to help drive more COVID-19 donations in the nation’s third most populated city. First responders, such as police and firefighters, have teamed with the blood collection organization to help more patients fight off the virus. In fact, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis D-Ill, reported that both Chicago police and firefighters would be present this past Sunday at Vitalant’s local office in Chicago. Those that want to participate can learn more here.
El Paso Texas Donations of Convalescent Plasma
In the meantime, El Paso County, Texas, with about 850,000 people, reports 2,046 confirmed cases with 57 deaths. Three prominent local providers have come together, including University Medical Center of El Paso, El Paso Children’s Hospital and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso, to urge those in the public that have recovered to consider donating plasma. Like in Chicago and Cook County, Vitalant, the nation’s largest independent blood provider, launched a program locally here in the U.S. Southwest.
Coordinating with the local providers, Vitalant is helping to identify local donors. Bradford Ray, director of Blood Management at University Medical Center of El Paso, reported on KFOX14, “We are specifically looking for volunteers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and now have recovered.” Ray reminded the audience that those that have recovered, in fact, “have the antibodies that sick patients need to, hopefully, recover.”
While Debabrata Mukherjee, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and chief of cardiovascular medicine at TTP El Paso, told KFOX14 “People who’ve recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their blood which is called convalescent plasma.” He continued, “We hope that convalescent plasma can boost the ability of patients with severe COVID-19 to fight the virus. If you’ve had and recovered from COVID-19, consider donating blood through Vitalant and help patients in our own community with severe COVID-19 infections.”
Vitalant Activity in El Paso
As Vitalant gears up to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 with the help of recovered patients, they seek plasma donors to help patients with the following eligibility criteria:
- Prior diagnosis of COVID-19, documented by a laboratory test
- Complete resolution of symptoms for at least 14 days
- Meet all other current FDA donor eligibility requirements to donate plasma
Call to Action: In El Paso, those that meet the eligibility criteria and want to give back and help existing COVID-19 patients, please visit the Vitalant website or call one of the following numbers.
Again, in Chicago, check out Vitalant’s local collaborative effort with Chicago Medical Society and Metro Infectious Disease Consultants.