POUGHKEEPSIE — This spring as COVID-19 vaccines become more available and people resume some of their favorite activities, the American Red Cross is reminding the public that the need for blood remains. Healthy individuals are encouraged to make a blood donation appointment now. But what about those who’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine — can they donate?

As long as donors are symptom-free, feeling well and can provide the vaccine manufacturer’s name, there’s no waiting period required after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized in the U.S. Additional blood donation eligibility information is available at RedCrossBlood.org/Eligibility.

Three reasons not to wait to donate:

Donors, especially those with type O blood, are needed in May to help ensure blood products are available for patients now and into summer. Those who come to give blood, platelets or plasma in May will be automatically entered for a chance to win a travel trailer camper that sleeps five, powered by Suburban Propane. Plus, those who make it in to give May 1-15 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card by email, courtesy of Suburban Propane.

Schedule an appointment now to give blood and make it a summer full of life for patients. Appointments can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is also screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions — including temperature checks, social distancing and face masks for donors and staff — have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities May 1-15

Columbia County

St. Luke’s Church, 1010 Kinderhook St., Valatie, 1-7 p.m. May 7.

Hudson Elks Lodge No. 787, 201 Harry Howard Ave., Hudson, 1-6 p.m. May 13.

Dutchess County

Poughkeepsie Galleria, 2001 South Road, Poughkeepsie, 1-6 p.m. May 4.

Veterans Building, 413 Main St., Beacon, 1-6 p.m. May 6.

Grace Bible Church, 158 Myers Corners Road, Wappingers Falls, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. May 7.

Poughkeepsie Galleria, 2001 South Road, Poughkeepsie, noon-5 p.m. May 11.

Millbrook Fire House, 20 Front St., Millbrook, 1-6 p.m. May 13.

Poughkeepsie Galleria, 2001 South Road, Poughkeepsie, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 15.

Greene County

Catskill Elks Lodge Hall, 45 North Jefferson Ave., Catskill, noon-6 p.m. May 10.

Ulster County

Veterans of Foreign Wars, 708 East Chester St., Kingston, 1-6 p.m. May 10.

Highland Hose Company 1, 25 Milton Ave., Highland, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 14.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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