Can You Donate Plasma After Flu Shot?


Matthew McClain


Donating plasma after your annual flu vaccine is perfectly safe and encouraged. Plasma transfusions help save lives every day, and plasma donations after flu shots can make a meaningful difference.

According to the FDA and blood banks, there are no restrictions on donating plasma following a flu vaccination. All major US blood centers welcome plasma donations as long as you feel healthy and have no side effects from your flu shot.

Donating Plasma After Flu Vaccine

Getting a flu vaccine is highly recommended in order to donate plasma safely. The flu shot contains inactive viruses that cannot be transmitted through plasma donations.

Here are the key facts potential donors should know about donating plasma after receiving an influenza vaccine:

  • The flu vaccine contains an inactivated virus that cannot transfer to plasma recipients. The vaccine does nothing to impact your eligibility or ability to donate plasma.
  • Blood banks and medical experts recommend receiving your annual flu vaccine and then donating plasma to help meet the high demand for plasma products.
  • Common flu shot side effects like arm soreness, fatigue and low-grade fever typically resolve within a day or two. As long as you feel well again, you can donate plasma without issue.
  • There is no set waiting period to donate plasma after getting a flu shot. However, you should wait until any immediate side effects have subsided. This typically means waiting at least 24-48 hours.
  • When donating plasma, be sure to disclose that you recently received an influenza vaccination. This is routine screening information for plasma centers and has no bearing on your eligibility to donate.

Donating plasma after a flu shot is actually encouraged whenever you feel healthy enough. Plasma is used to create medications that treat immunodeficiencies, bleeding disorders, infectious diseases and more. By donating plasma following your flu vaccine, you can provide valuable antibodies to flu shot recipients and support important medical research.

Donating plasma after flu vaccination allows you to provide antibodies against that year’s influenza strains to recipients of plasma-derived medications. These recipients, like those with weak immune systems, rely on plasma treatments and vaccinations from donors.

Possible Side Effects

Common side effects from the flu vaccine are mild and temporary. The most typical reactions include:

  • Soreness or swelling at the injection site. This may last for a few days.
  • Low-grade fever. A small percentage of recipients experience a fever up to 100-101°F for a day.
  • Fatigue or body aches. Some people feel tired or report minor muscle aches for 1-2 days.
  • Headache. A headache may occur but usually lasts no more than 2 days.

These side effects are a normal sign that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. They typically don not require medical attention and go away on their own.

To reduce discomfort after your flu shot, try the following:

  • Apply a cold compress to the injection site for 15-20 minutes several times per day.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen if needed.
  • Get plenty of rest and drink extra fluids to stay hydrated.

Once any side effects have subsided, usually within 1-2 days, you can proceed with donating plasma as normal.

Timing of Donation

You do not need to wait a specific length of time after getting a flu shot before donating plasma. Each blood donation center sets its own policy on flu vaccine timing. However, they generally recommend allowing enough time for any immediate side effects to go away.

For most donors, this means waiting 1-2 full days after vaccination before attempting plasma donation. Waiting at least 24-48 hours allows:

  • Injection site soreness to improve
  • Fatigue and body aches to go away
  • Fever to come down, if one occurred

The goal is for you to feel back to your normal, healthy self before donating plasma. Once you’re past the initial side effects from the vaccine and feel fine, there are no restrictions against donating.

When in doubt, check with your local plasma center’s guidelines for donating after flu vaccination. However, many donors have reported donating their regularly scheduled plasma as soon as they feel better, as long as it’s been at least 48 hours since getting the flu shot.

As a precaution, let the staff know during your screening that you recently received an influenza vaccine. This is part of their standard health history questions and does not impact your ability to donate plasma.

What happens if you donate plasma with the flu?

If you attempt to donate plasma while actively infected with influenza (the flu), the donation center will likely defer you from donating. This is for several reasons:

  • Safety of staff and other donors – If you are contagious with the flu, you pose a risk of exposing the staff and other donors at the plasma center. This could spread the illness among vulnerable individuals.
  • Safety of plasma recipients – Any pathogens in your plasma could potentially be transmitted to recipients of plasma-derived medications. This poses an unacceptable safety risk.
  • Requirements to feel healthy – Blood donation centers require donors to feel healthy and symptom-free on the day of donation. Active flu symptoms like fever, cough, body aches and fatigue will disqualify you.

So if you come down with the flu in between plasma or blood donations, you should contact the donation center to defer your next scheduled appointment. Most centers will want you to wait until you’ve been fever-free for at least 24-48 hours and symptom-free for at least 7 days before attempting to donate again.

Once you’ve recovered fully from the flu, passed the deferral period and feel back to your normal healthy self, you’ll typically be allowed to resume donating plasma as usual. The key is to never attempt to donate when you could potentially spread active infection through your donation. This is for the safety of recipients as well as the staff and other donors.

In summary, donating plasma after getting your annual flu vaccination is considered safe and strongly encouraged.

Donating plasma after your flu shot can help save lives by providing plasma-derived medications to people with weakened immune systems. Even small donations make an impact, so consider scheduling a plasma donation as soon as you’re feeling back to normal after getting vaccinated this flu season.


1. Can I donate blood after flu shot?

Yes, you can donate whole blood or blood products like platelets after receiving a flu vaccine. Doctors recommend waiting at least 48 hours for side effects to improve before donating. Inform staff of your recent flu shot during screening.

2. Are there any risks from donating plasma after flu vaccine?

There are no known risks associated with donating plasma after a flu shot. The flu vaccine contains an inactivated virus that cannot be transmitted through blood or plasma donations. Your plasma remains safe for donation as long as you feel healthy again.

3. Will donating plasma help with side effects from flu shot?

No, donating plasma will not help reduce or relieve side effects that you may experience from the flu vaccine, like arm soreness, fatigue or headache. These side effects tend to go away on their own within 1-2 days.

4. Do I need to disclose flu vaccine on plasma donation screening?

Yes, blood donation centers ask donors during screening if they have recently received any vaccinations, including the flu shot. You should always disclose a recent flu vaccine. This is part of the standard health history and does not impact your eligibility to donate plasma or blood.

Leave a Comment

Plasma Tx

901 N Broad St Suite 120
Rome, Georgia 30161

Donate Today