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Do Something Nice: Here's How to Donate Blood During the Special Period

Apr 3, 2020 | 16:35 Fri
If you are looking for ways to help out during the precarious COVID-19 recovery stage, giving blood is a good option. Many regularly scheduled blood donations were cancelled as people were quarantined, and the outbreak has placed a demand on the Shanghai Red Cross Blood Center. “Shanghai is a big city. Even without COVID, there is a large demand,” said Dr. Ashish Maskay of Shanghai United Family and a co-founder of the blood donation community Bloodline. The donation process isn't difficult. Here is how to donate blood in Shanghai.

We wrote about World Blood Donor Day back in 2015, and the basic donation process remains the same. If you're unsure about the process or worried about running into problems, you can organize your donation via Bloodline, which does outreach to foreigners.

Step 1: Check if you qualify

Basic requirements and instructions can be found here. Donors must be 18 years old, weigh over 50kg for males and 45kg for females. No history of drug abuse or certain diseases such as hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Men who have sex with men are ineligible to donate blood in China. An absurd, archaic law that should've died with the advent of blood testing kits in the 80s but those are the rules.

There are a few other prerequisites specific to COVID-19 times, such as no travel history to the 24 high risk countries or Hubei Province in the last 28 days. Check out Bloodline’s WeChat (BloodlineFamily) for changes and up-to-date English information.

Step 2: Make an Appointment

Walk-ins are still welcome but scheduling an appointment is preferred to avoid crowds. An appointment is required when donating platelets. Appointments can be made through the Blood Center’s Chinese language WeChat (shblood) or Bloodline can assist through their English WeChat. The main Shanghai Red Cross Blood Center is in Hongqiao. There are other branches near Zhongshan Park, Madang Lu station and in Pudong on Pujian Lu. The full list of Red Cross donation centers and blood-mobiles can be found here.

Step 3: Things to Bring

You need your passport or identification card, and a green suishenma. There are English forms to fill out about lifestyle and health history. Check out Bloodline’s website for a sample form and detailed walkthrough of what to expect. It's illegal to lie on these forms.

Step 4: Decide What to Donate

Donate whole blood or just red blood cells, plasma or platelets. Donating 200ml or 400ml of whole blood takes a few minutes while platelets take about half an hour. You can give whole blood every six months, red blood cells every eight weeks, plasma every four weeks and platelets every two weeks.

(Optional) Step 5: Join Bloodline’s Blood Type Communities

The donor network gets about two appeals a month nationwide for rare blood types, including Rh negative, a blood type very rare in Asia, but more common among European descendants.


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