Donating plasma

One in four regional hospital patients are suffering from Covid-19.

There's a way people who have recovered from the virus can help, by donating convalescent plasma, which is currently in short supply.

Brandon Baker at Vitalant says the transfusion of antibodies is a boost to the immune system and speeds up recovery.

"We're constantly getting phone calls from all the hospitals in the area asking do we have any convalescent plasma, when can we expect it. So the need is great for convalescent plasma as well as regular blood donations," Baker said.

He says hospitals are in desperate need and with the recent spike in cases and recoveries, there are more people available to donate.

"Based on the City of Lubbock's website numbers, we have more than 20,000 people that have recovered from Covid-19. And a really big chunk of those will be eligible to donate that Covid-19 convalescent plasma," Baker said.

If it's been at least 28 days since you've contracted the virus and you are symptom free, or lived in a household where there was Covid-19, you qualify to give plasma.

"There are varying levels of antibody rates, but we'd encourage you if you had it at the very start of the pandemic or if you've had it more recently to please come by and try to donate," Baker said.

The process only takes an hour to an hour and a half and Baker says it's nothing to be afraid of.

"Every time they donate, afterwards, we ask them how'd it go. They said, you know, that's so much easier than I thought it was. It didn't hurt. It was quick. So we just encourage you if you're nervous, if you've never donated just come out and give it a try," Baker added.

He says until there are vaccines available, giving convalescent plasma is the biggest way people can help those struggling to beat the virus.

"A lot of things this time of year cost a lot of money. This is a way you can give to someone that is 100% free and you're sharing that gift of life, which really is something that you can do and make you feel good about yourself in this holiday season," Baker said.

Signing up for the process is as easy as calling or walking in. Vitalant's website is bloodhero.com.