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Last Updated

31 Dec 2002

Source: New York Times, December 31, 2002

Blood-Giving Advice After Vaccination


Saying that some recipients of blood transfusions could be harmed by blood from people recently vaccinated for smallpox, the Food and Drug Administration recommended yesterday that recipients of the vaccine delay giving blood for at least three weeks.

The recommendation was one of several issued by the agency as the government prepares to vaccinate millions of health workers and military personnel.

These are the agency's main recommendations:

*Vaccinated people should not donate blood until the vaccination scab has fallen off spontaneously, or for 21 days after vaccination, whichever is later.

*People who develop complications from the vaccine should not donate blood until 14 days after the problems have disappeared.

*If a blood center has accepted blood and then learned that the donor had been vaccinated too recently for the blood to be considered safe, the blood should be destroyed or used only for research or for products that will not be used on humans.

*If patients are inadvertently given blood from a vaccinated donor who should have been deferred, blood centers should "consider the need for prompt record tracing and, as appropriate, notification of the treating physicians" or the transfusion recipients themselves.

The detailed recommendations are online at