Transfusion safety during the COVID-19 pandemic
Background and objectives: Early in the pandemic, the transmissibility of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) by transfusion was unknown. We piloted a systematic, post-donation outreach programme to contact blood donors and inquired about symptoms post-donation.
Materials and methods: Persons who donated on on May 1 and 2, 2020 were contacted 3 days post-donation, by phone to assess COVID-19-related symptoms. Half of the donors were administered a short questionnaire, consisting of only three questions. Others were questioned using a longer, more specific questionnaire. If symptoms were reported, products were quarantined until donors were contacted again by a trained nurse who more thoroughly assessed the likelihood of COVID-19. Blood products were withdrawn if symptoms indicative of COVID-19 were identified.
Results: Of 654 donors, 609 (93.1%) were successfully contacted. Of 310 donors who answered the short questionnaire and 299 who answered the long questionnaire, 19 (6.1%) and 8 (2.7%) had one or more symptoms, respectively. Based on the nurses’ assessment, two donations (0.3%) had to be withdrawn.
Conclusion: These results suggest that actively seeking post-donation information might be feasible to mitigate emerging, unqualified transfusion risks.
Lewin A, Renaud C, Boivin A, Germain M. Active seeking of post-donation information to minimize a potential threat to transfusion safety: A pilot programme in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vox Sang. 2021 Nov 23. doi: 10.1111/vox.13218. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34816443.