The decades old restriction on blood donations by those who lived in parts of Europe in the 1980s or 1990s has been lifted.
Individuals who lived or worked in the United Kingdom or France from 1980–1996 now may donate blood and platelets, thanks to updated U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.
In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted the vCJD disease travel deferral for the majority of affected European countries. In May 2022 FDA determined it was safe to lift the ban for individuals who spent time in Ireland and France from 1980–2001, or who received blood transfusions in the U.K., Ireland, or France between 1980 and the present.
This also applies to those who served with the U.S. military in Europe. While those who lived in Germany during the 1980-2001 time frame were not automatically banned from blood donation, those who ate on American military installations during that time were banned from blood donation because the U.S. military purchased beef from England.
Since 1999, the FDA had prohibited donations from these individuals out of fear they could transmit variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), commonly referred to as mad cow disease. But after extensive research and reassessment, the FDA determined the risk is now negligible. The agency began gradually lifting the ban in 2022.
OneBlood mobile blood drives in the Lake Okeechobee area include;
• Glades Day School, 400 Gator Blvd, Belle Glade, March 15, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Winne Dixie, 3246 U.S. 441 S., Okeechobee, March 15, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Wawa, 200 W. Park Street, Okeechobee, March 17, noon to 7 p.m. Donors will receive a free $20 Wawa gift card.
• Seminole Cove, 1799 S.W. Circle, Okeechobee, March 18, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Tractor Supply, 3371 U.S. Highway 441, Okeechobee, March 24, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Donors will receive a free Publix gift card and a OneBlood gift.
Each time you donate, you’ll receive a wellness checkup which includes blood pressure, pulse, temperature, iron count, and cholesterol screening.
To find a blood drive near you, go online to oneblood.org.