Gov. Northam donates blood plasma as VA Red Cross reports greater need than ever before

Updated: Dec. 18, 2020 at 11:10 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Northam donated blood plasma Friday morning at Emerywood Red Cross Blood Donation Center in Richmond, after building up antibodies to the virus in his system. Northam and his wife both battled COVID-19 in late September.

Gov. Northam donated blood plasma at the Red Cross to help other COVID-19 patients.
Gov. Northam donated blood plasma at the Red Cross to help other COVID-19 patients.(NBC12)

“I would encourage individuals, especially those who have had COVID-19, to really consider donating their plasma and their antibodies,” said Norham.

The process of extracting plasma from the blood takes about an hour and can be done at Red Cross centers across Virginia. Blood plasma contains COVID-19 antibodies that can help treat the most critical patients actively fighting the virus.

The Red Cross reports more than 45,000 blood drives have been cancelled amid the pandemic. That’s 1.2 million uncollected blood donations, and a major endeavor for the Virginia Red Cross to keep hospitals supplied.

The Red Cross has delivered more convalescent plasma (used to help patients currently fighting illnesses) to hospitals last month, than ever before- a 250-percent increase from September to November. Add to that only a small percentage of COVID-19 patients testing positive for antibodies, later on. That means not all plasma donations can actually help current coronavirus patients, making it even more essential for as many people to donate as possible.

Northam also reported to NBC12 that Virginia is now slated to receive over 370,000 vaccine doses by the year’s end, instead of the 480,000, earlier stated by Virginia health officials.

All states are now seeing a reduction in the anticipated vaccine total by the close of 2020. The Virginia Department of Health confirms to NBC12 that 370,650 doses are now set for the Commonwealth by December 31.

Officials say there appears to be a discrepancy in the number of doses ordered for each state and actual totals. That said, Pfizer is reporting no production issues.

Officials say Pfizer’s second dose is not impacted. The manufacturer withholds a second vial for every initial vial shipped out, to assure that critical second shot of the vaccine.

The situation will extend Virginia’s overall vaccination timeline by two weeks.

Virginia is slated to receive 140,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine, once it receives final approval by the FDA, potentially arriving in the state by Monday, December 21, according to Governor Ralph Northam.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.

Submit a news tip.