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Am I Eligible to Donate Blood?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) changed some of the eligibility criteria for blood donation in 2022. Deferral rules with respect to past European residence (previously linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) were removed. As a result, some donors who were previously ineligible to donate may now be eligible. Our blood donor center implemented these new criteria at the end of September 2022.

There is no waiting period after receiving a vaccine against COVID-19. Some people may have soreness, chills, low-grade fever and/or muscle aches after the shot. This is normal and is due to the immune system recognizing the vaccine. If you have symptoms, please wait until you have fully recovered before donating blood.

Notice for platelet donors: Effective June 22, 2021, donors who have had a splenectomy (spleen removal) will not be eligible to donate platelets on our apheresis instruments (Trima Accel) due to a software change.

We recommend checking the further eligibility criteria page for more information prior to making an appointment. Below is a brief overview of common temporary or permanent reasons that may prevent blood donation.


In order to donate blood you must meet these preliminary requirements:

  • Healthy and feeling well
  • Able to consume a full meal
  • Weigh more than 110 lbs

In order to donate platelets, you must meet these requirements and also not have taken aspirin with the past 2 days (48 hours). If you are unsure about eligibility, please read further eligibility criteria or call the Blood Donor Center at 202-476-5437.

Permanently Ineligible

Temporarily Ineligible

  • If you have been on an antibiotic or medication for an infection, dental work, cold or illness in the last 3 days.
  • If you have had a blood transfusion or exposure in the last 3 months.
  • If you have smoked synthetic marijuana in the last 12 months.
  • If you are taking medications from this list (PDF).

Possibly Ineligible (we recommend calling the Blood Donor Center for more information)

  • If you had shots or vaccinations in the past 8 weeks.
  • If you have had a tattoo or ear/body piercing in the last 3 months. Note that this requirement varies by state. You must wait 3 months after obtaining a tattoo in Maryland, Pennsylvania or Washington, D.C. but there is no waiting period for Virginia and West Virginia as long as the tattoo site has healed properly.
  • If you had a major illness in the past 6 months.
  • If you traveled outside the U.S. or Canada in the past 3 years.
  • If you are taking other medications for chronic medical conditions.

If you are eligible, schedule an appointment to donate blood today.