Photo: Bob Owen /San Antonio Express-News
To help promote the demand and need of convalescent plasma, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center announced in a news conference Monday that it will give donors a $50 gift card moving forward.
The $100,000 worth of gift cards are funded by Carabin & Shaw P.C. and the Wyatt Law Firm, both of which donated $50,000.
The blood center is collecting the plasma donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19 as part of a treatment for seriously ill patients. The plasma includes antibodies that can help a COVID-19 patient’s immune system fight the virus, according to the blood center.
A recent study led by the Mayo Clinic shows that convalescent plasma can cut mortality rates in half when administered at the right time, said Elizabeth Waltman, chief operating officer of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center.
“It shows that we need more people to make these life-saving donations,” she said. “The need is real and it is strong. From what we are seeing, convalescent plasma is making the difference between life and death for individuals.”
As of Sunday evening, the blood center said they have about 40 donors scheduled a day with a show rate of 75 percent. The center needs 75 donors every day to meet the area’s needs, according to the center.
In Bexar County, more than 33,000 people have recovered from COVID-19 but only 830 individuals have donated convalescent plasma.
“Our doctors in San Antonio want to use convalescent plasma for anyone admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, but we need more donations,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said during the news conference.
The blood center has sent out 5,457 units of convalescent plasma as of Sunday evening, the release stated. In August, it has sent out 820 units.
The blood center is encouraging anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to see if they are eligible to donate. Potential plasma donors can send an email to COVID19@SouthTexasBlood.org to find out if they qualify or visit southtexasblood.org/covid19 for additional information.
Priscilla Aguirre is a general assignment reporter for MySA.com | email@example.com | @CillaAguirre