International Society of Blood Transfusion survey of experiences of blood banks and transfusion services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Arwa Z. Al-Riyami, Thierry Burnouf, Erica M. Wood, Dana V. Devine, Adaeze Oreh, Torunn Oveland Apelseth, Ruchikha Goel, Evan M. Bloch, Karin van Den Berg, Mahrukh Getshen, Vernon Louw, Ai Leen Ang, Cheuk Kwong Lee, Naomi Rahimi-Levene, Susan L. Stramer, Ralph Vassallo, Torsten J. Schulze, Gopal Kumar Patidar, Hem Chandra Pandey, Rounak DubeyMaha Badawi, Salwa Hindawi, Abdullah Meshi, Tadashi Matsushita, Enrico Sorrentino, Rada M. Grubovic Rastvorceva, Renée Bazin, Marion Vermeulen, Susan Nahirniak, Hamilton C. Tsang, Hans Vrielink, Teguh Triyono, Marcelo Addas-Carvalho, Ana Hećimović, Oscar W. Torres, Samclide M. Mutindu, Jesper Bengtsson, Diego Dominguez, Ahmed Sayedahmed, Rozi Hanisa Musa, Bipul Gautam, Eszter Herczenik, Cynthia So-Osman, on behalf of the ISBT COVID-19Convalescent Plasma Working Group

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objectives: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted blood systems worldwide. Challenges included maintaining blood supplies and initiating the collection and use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP). Sharing information on the challenges can help improve blood collection and utilization. Materials and Methods: A survey questionnaire was distributed to International Society of Blood Transfusion members in 95 countries. We recorded respondents' demographic information, impacts on the blood supply, CCP collection and use, transfusion demands and operational challenges. Results: Eighty-two responses from 42 countries, including 24 low- and middle-income countries, were analysed. Participants worked in national (26.8%) and regional (26.8%) blood establishments and hospital-based (42.7%) institutions. CCP collection and transfusion were reported by 63% and 36.6% of respondents, respectively. Decreases in blood donations occurred in 70.6% of collecting facilities. Despite safety measures and recruitment strategies, donor fear and refusal of institutions to host blood drives were major contributing factors. Almost half of respondents working at transfusion medicine services were from large hospitals with over 10,000 red cell transfusions per year, and 76.8% of those hospitals experienced blood shortages. Practices varied in accepting donors for blood or CCP donations after a history of COVID-19 infection, CCP transfusion, or vaccination. Operational challenges included loss of staff, increased workloads and delays in reagent supplies. Almost half of the institutions modified their disaster plans during the pandemic. Conclusion: The challenges faced by blood systems during the COVID-19 pandemic highlight the need for guidance, harmonization, and strengthening of the preparedness and the capacity of blood systems against future infectious threats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822-830
Number of pages9
JournalVox Sanguinis
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • blood supply
  • convalescent plasma
  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • transfusion

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