New Zealand Blood Services reduces COVID-19 deferral period

New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) has reduced the deferral period for blood and plasma donors who have had COVID-19, are considered a close contact of a confirmed or suspected case or travelled overseas from a COVID-19 risk area.

The changes, which have been reviewed and approved by Medsafe, came into effect on Monday, March 7, 2022.

They are as follows:

  • If someone is a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case, they will be deferred from donating for 14 days from the date of recovery (or from the date of a positive test result if they have no symptoms).
  • If someone is a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19, they will be deferred for 14 days from the date of contact.
  • If someone has returned from overseas, they will need to wait 14 days following their departure from a coronavirus risk area.

Previously, the deferral period for all three scenarios was 28 days.

The revised stand down comes following changes within public health recommendations in New Zealand and brings NZBS guidelines into alignment with other blood service providers around the world.

Blood donation is an essential service under all COVID-19 Traffic Light settings.

There is an ongoing requirement for blood and blood products and NZBS is committed to meeting this in the safest possible way for its donors and staff during the Omicron outbreak.

  • Donor Centres and Mobile Blood Drives continue to be safe places to visit. You can find out more about the processes and procedures implemented to reduce the risk of transmission here.
  • NZBS is asking donors in good health to continue to book and keep appointments to donate blood.
  • Donors should only attend their appointment if they are well.
  • If a donor needs to reschedule an appointment, please let NZBS know by calling ahead of time.  This will allow time for the appointment slot to be re-booked.

There has never been a better time to become a blood donor.

NZBS encourages potential donors to check their eligibility using the quiz on the website Am I Eligible and to book an appointment online, by downloading the app or calling 0800 448 325. 

Donors can also sign up to the Facebook Blood Donations feature to receive updates and notifications about donating blood.

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