With the incidence of soaring coronavirus cases all across Michigan, the team at Versiti Blood Centers, including the one across from Strikers Bowling Center in St. Joseph, has issued an urgent plea for COVID survivors to donate their plasma in the face of rapidly dwindling supplies.
Versiti has today issued an urgent plea to those who have previously been infected with COVID-19 to “pay it forward” by donating COVID convalescent plasma (CCP) to help others. With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations soaring to new levels, the organization is struggling to keep up with hospital needs. The need for COVID convalescent plasma at hospitals served by Versiti has doubled in the last four weeks and is expected to continue to increase very rapidly as COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
Dr. Dan Waxman, Vice President of Transfusion Medicine and Senior Medical Officer at Versiti, says, “We are facing a critical need,” and warns, “Without intervention from the community, we face the very real possibility that we won’t be able to fill orders for patients in hospitals we serve. This important therapy cannot be manufactured. It comes from generous volunteer donors in our communities who have recovered from COVID and now are able to help hospitalized patients in those very same communities.”
COVID convalescent plasma is a blood-related therapy used by hospitals to treat the most severely affected patients. The donated plasma contains antibodies, which can help seriously ill patients fight the infection.
Versiti has reached unprecedented levels of demand for COVID convalescent plasma. In recent days, COVID convalescent plasma has been shipping out to local hospitals three times faster than it is coming in. To date, the organization has been able to meet the needs of hospitals with the assistance of other blood centers. However, with COVID cases rising across the country, Versiti is fearful that those backup resources might soon not be available.
Dr. Waxman cautions, “Currently inventory levels of COVID convalescent plasma are an enormous concern; our inventory levels have dwindled from four weeks to four days,” and adds, “We’re pleading with the community – if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID and have been symptom free for 14 days, please consider giving an hour of your time to help others who are facing an uphill climb in battling the virus.”
Individuals who have previously donated COVID convalescent plasma are asked to call 1-866-642-5663 to make another appointment. CCP donors are generally eligible to donate up to 12 times.
Those who are interested in donating COVID convalescent plasma for the first time are asked to visit this link online: http://versiti.org/covid19plasma.
Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, formerly Michigan Blood, has collected blood throughout the state since 1955. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, the non-profit organization provides blood products and services to nearly 80 Michigan hospitals. Versiti collects more than 114,000 units of blood each year in Michigan at eight donation centers, including the one in St. Joseph, and through the operation of more than 3,400 community blood drives throughout the state.