Donate blood to help Arkansas rise and recover; receive free antibody test

Democrat Staff
Booneville Democrat

Blood donors embody the best of who Arkansans are, giving selflessly so the state can rise and recover together. COVID-19 has taken a toll on the blood supply, and Arkansas Blood Institute has an immediate need for eligible blood donors.

Arkansas Blood Institute is hosting a blood drive with Walmart Booneville Friday, June 12, 2:30 to 5:45 p.m. on the bloodmobile.

Arkansas Blood Institute is offering free COVID-19 antibody testing for blood donors ages 18 and up. Antibody test results will be mailed post-donation. You must be 18 or older to receive antibody test. This test has not been reviewed by the FDA and is not intended for diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.

Healthy donors are urged to give blood, and appointments are needed to allow for recommended social distancing.

Donors 16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; and those 18 and older must weigh at least 110 pounds.

“Our state is making great strides to overcome the effects of this unprecedented pandemic, and Arkansas Blood Institute is proud to innovate this testing initiative,” said John Armitage, M.D., president & CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “The antibody tests will give our generous donors the important health information they need as they get back to work and activities.”

Donors will receive a free t-shirt and their choice of one free entry voucher to Magic Springs Theme & Water Park, to be redeemed at yourbloodinstitute.org. Arkansas Blood Institute supports the inventory for patients in more than 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide.

Arkansas Blood Institute’s donor centers and mobile blood drives have instituted additional cleaning methods, decontaminating work and common areas and equipment frequently. In addition, donor centers and mobile blood drives have been adapted to allow for social distancing. All phlebotomy staff will wear masks. Staff members and donors will also have their temperatures taken before starting work or entering the facility, to ensure only healthy individuals are present.

Arkansas Blood Institute is following recommendations and guidelines set forth by the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks). Arkansas Blood Institute is committed to maintaining the safest standards for blood collection, testing and transfusion.

Blood donation typically takes only about an hour, and one donation saves up to three lives. Appointments can be made by calling 1-877-340-8777 or visiting arkbi.org. More information on Arkansas Blood Institute can be found at arkbi.org.