'Help us save lives': Plasma donations critically needed in Florida, donors can get paid, officials say

Officials report that Florida is in critical need of plasma donations with COVID-19 antibodies.

Donors not only can save a life but get paid.

Dr. Jason Castellanos of Orlando City Health & Wellness said he was never sick, but when he found out he had the COVID-19 antibodies, he knew he wanted to help.

He donated his plasma so that someone suffering from the virus could stand a better chance of surviving. He described it to FOX 35 Orlando as a "fairly easy process overall."

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“Compared to May to now we are seeing over a 500 percent increase in orders,” said Susan Forbes, Vice President of Corporate Communications at OneBlood. They deliver convalescent plasma around the clock to more than 250 hospitals around Florida.

View of a blood plasma bag from a donor during the blood donation. (Photo by Amphol Thongmueangluang/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“Doctors using it earlier on in treatment to try to prevent these patients from ending up on the ventilator,” Forbes explained. More than 7,000 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized could potentially benefit from those transfusions.

“They can only receive it if we have enough people coming in to do that,” Forbes said.

The pool of eligible donors are those 250,000-plus people who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Donation centers said donors can earn up to $1,000 or more a month by donating plasma with COVID-19 antibodies.

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Yet, at the CSL Plasma off of Americana Boulevard, only five people are participating.

“You do dedicate your time to come here and help save lives, so we want to do something for you,” said CSL Plasma Center Manager Isabella Bishop. “Right now in the specialty program, we’re compensating 100 dollars per donation.”

The process of donating plasma is similar to donating blood. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood that consists of water and proteins. In order to donate, each person must present positive results from an antibody test.

“Here at Orlando City Health and Wellness, we offer that antibody testing,” Dr. Castellanos said. “What we do is we offer the exam and place the order to get your blood draw. You get results within 1-3 days.”

As positive cases continue to surge, officials are urging everyone who can help to make an appointment to donate.

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“This really is an all-hands on deck situation, Forbes said.  

“Be a hero and help us save lives,” Bishop said.

Plasma Donation Centers in Central Florida

  • OneBlood
  • BioLife: $200 for first donation, $200 for second donation
  • CSL Plasma: $100 per donation
  • BioMat USA: $100 per donation
  • BPL Plasma: $75 per donation
  • Octapharma Plasma: $75 for first donation, $50 for second donation

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