January 8, 2021

UW Health encourages convalescent plasma donations for COVID-19 treatment

Madison, Wis. — While COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and limited vaccinations have begun, it will be several months before vaccines are widely available. With the nation still adding 200,000 new COVID-19 cases each day, there remains a critical need for convalescent plasma donations to help patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Convalescent plasma is plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 which has been authorized to treat people who are currently in the hospital fighting the virus.

"There is a critical shortage of convalescent plasma in the Midwest," said Dr. William Hartman, director of UW Health's convalescent plasma program. "There are many ways the public can help reduce the impact of the virus. Getting a vaccine when it is available is of course very valuable to ourselves and others. Donating this plasma once you've recovered from COVID-19 can help treat others battling the virus. We have to use all the tools we can."

Dr. Jasmine Zapata, a UW Health pediatrician and newborn hospitalist at UnityPoint Health-Meriter, recently recovered from COVID-19 and donated her convalescent plasma.

"There is a lot of talk about vaccines, but while we wait for them to be widely available it is critically important to continue to donate plasma, and I encourage people who have recovered to join me. I am happy to do my part and raise awareness," said Zapata.

Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and would like to learn more about donating their plasma can learn more or sign up by visiting the Red Cross website.