THD News Desk, New Delhi: National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) reduced the deferral period of blood donation post-COVID-19 vaccine dose on Wednesday. This order came after the constant appeal by the blood banks to reduce the deferral period from 28 days to 14 days, on the lines to the European and the US guidelines.
Dr Sunil Gupta, Additional Director General for NBTC said in the order, “After detailed deliberations among the expert group, it has been decided to reduce the deferral period for blood donor to 14 days after recovering the second dose of the currently available Covid-19 vaccines in the country subject to the condition that the donor conforms to the other norms for Blood donation.”
Earlier, the Medical Director of the lifeline Blood bank, Dr Harish Warbhe warned that “Our Indian guidelines are based on old, traditional norms without considering the current scientific global norms and pandemic situation. If not revised early, it will lead to a severe shortage of blood in India in the near future.”
In a meeting of the governing body of the NBTC held on February 17, “28 days post-vaccination deferral after the second dose of COVID-19 vaccination irrespective of the type of the vaccine received” was approved. This meant that a donor shall not have to wait for 56 days as the vaccines need to be taken 28 days apart by an individual. Now, anyone who’s eligible can donate blood after 14 days of having a second dose of the vaccine.
Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine containing the killed virus while Covishield is a recombinant vaccine with a small piece of the virus DNA. A senior blood transfusion expert questioned the deferral period, saying if none were live vaccines, why stop people from donating blood.
To counter possible crises with vaccination drives that may leave blood banks dry, they have been incessantly urging enthusiasts to donate blood as the vaccination drive opened for the 18-44 age group from May 1.