America’s Blood Centers and its members are committed to maintaining a safe and available blood supply and treating all potential donors with fairness, equality, and respect. We commend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their continued support during this unprecedented situation as our nation coordinates response efforts to COVID-19.
In recognizing the need to maintain an adequate blood supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA has evaluated and modified current donor eligibility policies based on data from new studies showing these changes can safely expand the number of eligible donors to benefit the nation’s blood supply. Among the changes is a shortened deferral period for men who have sex with men (MSM). America’s Blood Centers supports this change and encourages ongoing work to establish donor-screening based on individual behaviors, not based on sexual or gender identity. The use of rational, science-based deferral periods must be applied fairly and consistently among blood donors.
Blood centers are actively working to implement the FDA-announced changes as quickly and diligently as possible, but it will take time to change and adapt policies in compliance with regulatory requirements, recommendations, and good manufacturing practices. Individuals are strongly encouraged to contact their local blood center to confirm the implementation timeline, their eligibility, and to schedule appointments to donate. While the blood supply is currently stable, there will be an ongoing need for blood donation throughout the pandemic and beyond.