RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — The COVID-19 pandemic is having an effect on plasma donations, especially plasma that is needed for people who have an immune deficiency.
Jenny Gardner has an immune deficiency and depends on plasma, which is the liquid portion of the blood, to help keep her immune system strong.
"It supplies me with what my body doesn't give me. I tell everybody that I live off of everybody else's immune system," said Gardner.
Dr. Toby Simon, the senior medical director at CSL Plasma, says plasma benefits many people, including cancer patients.
"There are a variety of medications that are made from human plasma to treat numerous diseases, and many of them are inherited diseases," said Simon.
There are about 260 CSL Plasma locations around the country, including one in Port Saint Lucie and one in Riviera Beach.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting donors.
"It's more difficult for our donors to get there. Many of them are trying to stay home. We have to make extra effort to ensure that we can collect enough," said Simon.
The company says it is practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Donors are also paid for their plasma.
"There's a significant commitment that they make, and we feel it's appropriate to give them some level of compensation for their time," said Simon.
They have also added a program in the fight against COVID-19, looking for donors who have recovered from the virus.
"There's also this additional opportunity now to possibly help other patients with COVID-19," said Simon.
"I get very emotional because I am looking in the eyes of people who are making a difference not just for me but for other patients," said Gardner.
The CSL Plasma in Riviera Beach is located at 80 E 30th St. They can be reached at 561-807-6016.