Inked can still give blood
Red Cross lowers wait period for newly tattooed in a bid to boost donor numbers
IN A bid to increase blood donor numbers – which are flatlining nationally – recently tattooed people will no longer have to wait six months before giving.
The Red Cross will now only lock out potential blood donors for four months.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen a decline from around 1300 new donors an- nually to around 900,” Nepean Donor Centre’s Jemma Falkenmire said.
“It is certainly not peculiar to western Sydney; we’re seeing this across the country, and even globally.”
She blamed the fall on more people travelling to “malaria countries”, being time-poor and the popularity of tattoos.
“Time is, of course, the biggest reason people give us when they say why they’re not donating and a fear of needles can prevent people from donating for the first time,” she said.
“We are also seeing people with a tattoo or who travel often self-defer for life.”
Ms Falkenmire said many people with body art erroneously believed they could never donate, not realising they only had to wait due to any bloodborne disease they may have contracted from exposure to the needle and the ink.
“We’ve had improvements in our (blood) testing, which has meant we can re- duce our tattoo and piercing deferrals (to four months),” Ms Falkenmire said.
“People with tattoos are great donors because they’re not afraid of needles.”
She said the “very small pool of dedicated donors, donating at least 10 times a year” in the Penrith area was getting older and would soon have to stop donating.
People with tattoos are great donors ... they’re not afraid of needles Jemma Falkenmire