West Auckland will play host to New Zealand’s first ever mobile plasma blood drive this week as New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) ramps up plasma donation accessibility around the country ahead of surging demand.
After months of planning, the event in Henderson will allow 150 whole blood donors who meet the plasma eligibility criteria to give plasma at a mobile drive for the very first time, one of several exciting steps that will see increased plasma collections in Auckland and other New Zealand regions.
“The need for more plasma donors, and for more donations from existing plasma donors, is very real,” says Asuka Burge, NZBS National Manager, Marketing and Communications. “By July 2021, we will require an additional 7,000 registered plasma donors, as demand increases 12 percent year on year. Soon, New Zealand will require more plasma donations than whole blood donations.”
“Up until now, we were only able to collect plasma donations at one of our nine fixed-site donor centres.
“Our mobile plasma drives will open up plasma donations to a whole new group of people who have been unable to get to a donor centre to donate. Although, there are still limitations where a mobile plasma blood drive can visit, as we need to keep within commuting distance of a processing centre to ensure the plasma can be processed at the end of each collection day.
“Planning for our new mobile plasma drive has required extensive coordination in the wake of COVID-19, as well as acquiring additional apheresis machines required for plasma donation, and ensuring our mobile teams have specialist plasma collection expertise.”
150 units of plasma are expected to be collected from the mobile drive over the week, and will be delivered to the Epsom donor centre at the end of each day. Each unit with then be manufactured into one of eleven lifesaving products. All donors were pre-screened to meet the plasma eligibility criteria and spoken to a member of NZBS staff to assess suitability.
Appointments at the first mobile drive have been filled by whole blood donors who live in the local area and were willing and keen to switch to plasma donation.
The first to donate will be Sophie Wakely, who has been donating at Henderson whole blood mobile drives for over ten years, “I’ve been donating whole blood since I was sixteen”, says the 28-year-old. “I got an email asking if I was able to switch over to plasma, and thought hell yeah! Any chance I can get, I’ll be there to help.”
The Henderson drive is the first of five mobile plasma blood drives in Auckland. There are also plans to extend mobile plasma blood drives to other regions in the country, including Canterbury, Wellington, Wairarapa and Waikato over the next 12 months.
The mobile plasma drive will be returning to Henderson on the 19th October, and bookings are already half-filled. NZBS also has three additional plasma drives planned in Auckland in Pukekohe, Albany and Howick for the incoming weeks.
Upcoming Auckland dates include:
- 9 -13 October Pukekohe Franklin Baptist Church 128 Victoria Street West
- 19 -23 October Henderson Trust Arena
- 27-30 October, Albany North Harbour Stadium
- Pakuranga/Howick TBC for the week of 2 November 2020
The first mobile drive will take place at the Henderson Trust Arena from 13:00 to 19:00 today through Thursday September 24, and from 8:00 to 13:30 on Friday September 25.
For more information on donating plasma, visit https://www.nzblood.co.nz/give-blood/plasma/
To sign up to become a plasma donor, visit https://www.nzblood.co.nz/plas...