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VERIFY: No, donating blood will not diminish the COVID-19 vaccine's effect

In some cases, a phenomenon called "rebound" can happen where your body actually responds by making more antibodies after donating blood.

DALLAS — As many people continue to get their COVID-19 vaccine shots, some want to know what else it impacts.

WFAA viewer Bob Satterfield emailed the VERIFY team asking if he should have anything to worry about if he's planning to donate blood after getting his COVID-19 vaccine shot.

THE QUESTION

After being fully vaccinated for COVID-19, does donating blood diminish the vaccine's effect?

THE SOURCES

  • Dr. John Wherry, Chair of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics and director of the Penn Institute for Immunology
  • Dr. Karen Roush, Vice Chairman of the Department of Pathology for the Methodist Health System

THE ANSWER

Since your body is constantly creating antibodies and is well able to replete them, donating blood does not impact the effectiveness of your COVID-19 vaccine shot.

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WHAT WE FOUND 

When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, your immune system responds by producing plasma cells, which act as huge factories that continuously make antibodies.

You have about five liters of blood in your body. When you donate blood, that only takes out 450 milliliters.

This isn't enough to have any impact on the vaccine shot's effectiveness.

"When you get vaccinated, your immune system produces cells called plasma cells," Wherry said. "After you get vaccinated, they go lodge in your bone marrow. These things set up shop and are like huge factories making antibodies. They pump out enormous amounts of antibodies continuously. They're in your bone marrow. So while you may lose some of the antibodies in your blood, a very small percentage, the important cells that are making those antibodies stay put."

In some cases, a phenomenon called "rebound" can happen where your body actually responds by making more antibodies after donating blood.

"The body is very good at re-leveling once something happens to it," Roush said. "That's certainly the same case for blood donations."