FDA Loosens Restrictions On Blood Donation For Military Members, World Travelers

By Benjamin Cox on July 25, 2020 at 1:25pm

The Central Illinois Community Blood Center has implemented changes to donor eligibility based on revised guidance from FDA. The changes particularly effect current and former military members who have previously served in Europe and their ability to donate.

Military members have previously had to defer blood donation due to potential exposure to Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease while serving in Europe. The revised guidance from FDA eliminates the deferral of individuals who spent time on U.S. military bases in Europe. The deferral remains for those who spent time in the United Kingdom (cumulative 3 months from 1980-1996) and France or Ireland (cumulative 5 years from 1980-2001). It is expected to help make more donors eligible within the miltary.

There was also previously a 12-month deferral for travel to parts of the world where there is risk of exposure to malaria. This deferral has been changed from a 12-month deferral to a 3-month deferral. Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center Public Relations Manager Kirby Winn said in email communication that he regular has talked to a number of people who travel annually to countries that are a malaria endemic area and they regularly have to wait to give blood or can’t give blood at all for an extended period of time. He says that by loosening the restriction, it will allow those regular travelers to give blood between trips.

Winn says that the need for more blood donors is needed now more than ever due to cancellations of blood drives and other challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He says that the need for blood has returned to normal levels at local hospitals because of a backlog of elective surgeries.

To make an appointment for donation, call CICBC at (800) 747-5401 or sign up online at www.bloodcenter.org.