JPAC Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee

Coronavirus Infection (COVID-19)


COVID-19 disease due to infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus, previously known as Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.


Testing: PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs), usually by throat and/or nose swab, to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2. This does not include testing for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2

1. Individuals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection
  • Individuals with confirmed COVID-19 infection, diagnosed by a positive LFT or PCR test.
  • Individuals where the results of SARS-Cov-2 testing, if carried out at the request of a health care professional, are awaited.

Must not donate.


If it is at least seven days from the resolution of symptoms, and no further testing is required, accept.

2. Individuals with non-specific symptoms, not confirmed as COVID-19

Individuals who have non-specific symptoms of a respiratory infection, including coughs and cold symptoms.


Individuals who are awaiting test results for SARS-CoV-2 infection, as requested by a health care professional.


See Infection - Acute

3. Post-Covid Syndrome (Long Covid)

Must not donate


If it is at least 6 months since all symptoms, including fatigue, have resolved, accept.

4. Occupational and other routine surveillance

Donors who have regular testing for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) can be accepted to donate provided they have not had a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 in the last seven days.
This includes donors who work in a Health, Social Care or Educational setting.

5. SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) Vaccination

Must not donate if:
Less than 48 hours after the most recent immunisation was given.


a) If at least 48 hours have passed since the most recent immunisation was given, and

  • the donor is well, with no ongoing local or systemic reaction to the vaccine,


b) If the vaccine was given as part of an approved clinical trial and

  • more than 48 hours have passed since the most recent immunisation was given, and
  • the donor is well, with no ongoing local or systemic reaction to the vaccine, and
  • any deferral period specified in the study protocol has passed,


See if Relevant

Clinical Trials
Immunization – Non-live
Infection - Acute

Additional Information

Common coronaviruses cause colds and respiratory tract infections but are not considered a risk for transfusion recipients. Since 2002 there have been outbreaks in humans of new strains of coronavirus, associated with severe pulmonary infections and mortality rates of 10-35% e.g. SARS and MERS.

COVID-19 is an illness caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus first identified in 2019. The guidance within this entry is focussed on COVID-19. Donors who report MERS or SARS, or contact with these infections, should be referred to a DCSO.

Many respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, share common symptoms. As routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection is no longer recommended, most individuals will not have test results to confirm or exclude COVID-19. Where COVID-19 testing is not being undertaken, assessing donors using the Infection – Acute entry ensures that individuals are deferred for the appropriate time based on their symptoms.

Individuals affected by COVID-19 may experience longer term symptoms. Post-Covid Syndrome (PCS), which may also be known as Long Covid, is recognised in individuals who have persistent symptoms for 12 weeks or more. PCS is a multisystem disease; common symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness and ‘brain fog’. Affected individuals may also experience cardiac, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms. As PCS may follow a relapsing course, it is important individuals have fully recovered before being accepted to donate.

COVID-19 vaccines are non-live and as such do not pose a transfusion safety risk. A 48-hour deferral after immunisation is recommended to reduce the risk of a donation being discarded if a vaccine recipient develops symptoms directly related to the vaccine after donation.

Post Donation Information

There is no evidence at present that coronaviruses can be transmitted by blood transfusion and therefore these measures are precautionary. 

Donors must be provided with information about contacting the blood service if they develop any illness after blood or component donation.

If a donor reports post-donation respiratory illness, refer to Appendix 4 – Management of post donation illness

Reason for change

This entry has been extensively rewritten to reflect changes in COVID-19 guidance across the UK.

Update Information

This entry was last updated in:
DSG-WB Edition 203, Release 65