UW Medical experts pushing for convalescent plasma donations

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 20:20:54-05

MILWAUKEE — As most people wait to get a COVID-19 vaccine, doctors say there is one thing you can do right now to help: donate convalescent plasma.

An end to the pandemic is in sight as vaccines are given out daily around the world. However, people are still getting sick and now medical experts are pushing for donations of convalescent plasma to help.

“I had a cough. I had a running nose. I had a horrible headache,” said Dr. Jasmine Zapata, a doctor at UW Health. Zapata and several members of her immediate family contracted COVID-19 and recovered.

“Thank god I did not get hospitalized,” she said.

Soon after her COVID-19 recovery, she donated convalescent plasma.

“You are donating your plasma and because you just recovered, you have life-saving property properties in your plasma,” Zapata said.

Recovered COVID-19 patients can donate their blood, which contains antibodies to the virus. Experts encourage people to donate if they can, citing a critical national shortage of the plasma.

“We’re seeing that the demand for plasma greatly exceeds the supply," said Dr. William Hartman of UW Health.

With the nation adding roughly 200,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, being and months out from wide distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, doctors like Artman say these convalescent plasma donations could help many in the meantime.

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