'Minimal evidence' COVID-19 can be transmitted via blood transfusion: DOH

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2021 06:27 PM | Updated as of Jun 14 2021 06:28 PM

MANILA - There is insufficient evidence to prove that COVID-19 may be transmitted through blood transfusions, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday.

There is "minimal evidence" but the Department of Health is not taking it lightly, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online press conference.

"'Yung mga posibilidad ay nandun, kasi yung nagco-cross from the mother to the child," she said, referring to a few cases when antibodies against COVID-19 were found in babies born after their mothers survived the virus.

(The posibility is there because it crosses from the mother to the child.)

"We need to have further evidence for this," she said.

But blood recipients should not be worried about a possible transmission as health officials check donated blood for possible diseases even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Vergeire said.

"Sa lahat ng dugo na dino-donate, prinoproseso po yan kung saan inii-screen natin 'yung mga tranfusion for transmissible infection," she said.

(Bags of blood that are donated are processed and screened for transmissible infection.)

"Ito 'yung mga ibang sakit, liban dito sa sinasabing COVID-19," she said.

(These are diseases aside from COVID-19.)

The government has been encouraging the public to donate more blood as supply in blood banks dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blood donation in 2020 dropped to 1.04 million units, from the 1.38 million collected from January to June of 2019, said Marites Estrella, program manager of the DOH National Voluntary Blood Services Program.

The DOH has been issuing special passes for blood donors as the government seeks to encourage more people to donate blood during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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