Find answers to frequently asked questions about donating blood at the Mass General Blood Donor Center during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Questions & Answers
1. What precautions are being taken to limit the spread of germs and prevent infection?
The blood donation center has always adhered to strict infection control procedures including wearing gloves, wiping down donor chairs, using sterile single use collection sets and verifying the health of donors.
We have now increased our vigilance to include:
- Masks being worn by all staff at all times
- Stringent disinfecting of all surfaces between each donor.
- Provide hand sanitizer for donor use throughout the process.
- Donor waiting areas and donor chairs have been spaced out to adhere to physical distancing.
- Limit donations to appointments only so that the volume of people in the center can be controlled.
- Temperatures of all staff are being taken before each shift.
- All staff and donors who are not feeling 100% are asked to stay at home.
- Donors will be given a mask to wear upon entering the donor center or bloodmobile.
The steps being taken to provide a much safer environment than going to the grocery store or pharmacy.
2. Is donating blood considered essential during this time?
Donating blood is considered essential by the Governor's Executive Order and by the Federal Government. If you are feeling healthy and well, giving blood is a great reason to go out. In order to meet the blood needs of patients, we must maintain a sufficient blood supply each day over the coming weeks. We are asking that you look at scheduling an appointment during the next two months. Check our eligibility requirements.
3. Can I get COVID-19 by donating blood?
According to the American Association of Blood Banks, individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 through the blood donation process or via a blood transfusion, since respiratory viruses are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion.
4. Why is it important to give blood now?
It is important that we always maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients in need. Although elective surgeries are being postponed, there are many patients everyday depending on blood. Cancer patients rely on blood products throughout their treatment. Organ transplant surgeries continue. Traumas are still coming to the ED. We must continue to replenish the blood supply to ensure that blood is available for all in need.
5. Is there parking?
Yes. There are 4 reserved spots on Blossom St. across from the Gray Lobby entrance. Let us know if you would like us to send you a sign for your window. There is also parking in the front garages at no charge.
6. Can I bring my children with me?
No. We must limit the amount of people coming into the donor center and ask that only donors come into the center.
7. Can I donate on a bloodmobile?
You can! Due to most companies still not back to pre-COVID levels and restrictions at schools, only a handful of blood drives are running each month. Send us an email at MGHblooddonorcenter@partners.org to find out if there is a drive is your area.
8. I heard the FDA had changed some guidelines recently. What are they?
Yes, they did change the guidelines. If you have been deferred before, you may be able to donate again! Rules about tattoos, needle sticks, male sex with males, travel to malarial areas and European residency have changed. Check our page on eligibility for more information.
9. I can’t seem to make an appointment online. Is the schedule working?
If the day you have chosen has grayed out times, it means they are full. Try picking a date the following week. We are scheduling about a week in a half to 2 weeks in advance. Go to www.massgeneral.org/blood-donor and click on schedule an appointment or email MGHblooddonorcenter@partners.org.
10. I think I may just have allergies, can I still donate?
To be on the safe side, we would ask you not to come in. You should be feeling 100% on the day of donation.