SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is Your Vaccine Authority and we are getting answers on how the COVID-19 vaccine is impacting blood and plasma donations in the Bay State.

Many are wondering if they can still donate if they’ve already received their shot.

“At the Red Cross, we are always in need of blood donors,” said Jeff Hall with the American Red Cross.

Hall said following last week's winter weather, the need for blood donations has once again grown across the country.

“Nationally, blood supply is down…We had those terrible winter storms last week that forced over 10,000 blood donations to be canceled. We feel that ripple effect all the way through the country,” Hall explained.

However, with COVID-19 vaccinations on most people’s minds, many may not realize the crucial need for blood and some are even questioning if they are allowed give blood after getting vaccinated.

Western Mass News has learned that getting vaccinated won’t impact your ability to donate plasma, but it will limit how your plasma can be used.

“We have a therapy called convalescent plasma. We’ve been taking from folks who have fully recovered from COVID-19 symptoms, we take their plasma and we turn that into a therapy tool for a local hospitals to use for those impacted worse by the disease. Unfortunately, if you’ve had the vaccine…your body won’t make the correct antibodies for that,” Hall explained.

The Red Cross told Western Mass News that if you do have the COVID-19 antibodies, now might be the perfect time to donate plasma while you wait for your vaccine.

“If you’ve had COVID-19 and you’re fully recovered, you can donate your convalescent plasma up to seven or eight times - once a week for about seven weeks. Once you’ve had the vaccination…we can still use your plasma. It just won’t be used as a convalescent blood plasma tool,” Hall noted.

The American Red Cross wants to make it clear that they are not asking anyone to delay their shots for more convalescent plasma donations because even if you've been vaccinated, they can still use your blood.

“The Red Cross always advises people to talk to their doctor about what’s right for them. We’re always in the need for blood, so if you have the ability to donate blood in Springfield, please make an appointment,” Hall said.

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