Call for blood donors as France stocks hit critically low levels



France’s blood stocks have reached “dangerously critical” levels, the agency in charge of donations and transfusions said, calling for a collection of donations over the next three weeks.

The country lacks around 33,000 bags of blood, the French Blood Establishment (EFS) said yesterday (September 27).

To increase blood reserves, the agency says it is ready for “an exceptional mobilization of its teams”, which will welcome all donors, “including those who come without an appointment”.

In the past two weeks, around 15% of positions have remained vacant.

Who can donate blood in France?

You must be over 18 and under 70 to donate blood in France, but there are a number of other criteria that also relate to weight, medical history, tattoos and piercings, and sex life.

The easiest way to find out if you are eligible is to take this short survey on the EFS website. As soon as you choose an option that makes you ineligible for donating blood in France, an information box will open to inform you.

One factor that prevents someone from donating blood is someone who spent more than a year in the UK between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1996. This is due to the Mad Cow Disease outbreak. (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) in the UK at the time.

The EFS says that if you fall into this category, there are other ways to support blood drive. For example, you can donate blood for non-therapeutic purposes (for education and medical research). To do this, you must contact a donation center or find out more by calling 0800 109 900.

Another factor, which will be changed soon, is that a man who has had sex with another man in the past four months cannot donate blood.

This rule is expected to change from early 2022 after the adoption of an amendment in the French Parliament in June this year. This means that a man who has had sex with another man in the past four months will be able to donate blood, which will comply with the rules for heterosexual relationships.

How can I make an appointment?

The EFS said that as part of its blood drive, people will be able to go to donation centers without an appointment.

However, if you would like to make an appointment in advance, you can do so by booking online here.

You can also find your nearest donation center by searching the EFS website here.

What documents do I need?

If this is your first donation, you must bring an identity document (national identity card, passport or residence permit). Otherwise, your donor card is sufficient. You do not need to bring your health record.

And in true French style, all donors will be offered a light meal after their donation. Usually these are cookies, bread and cold cuts etc. Drinks and water will also be available.

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