There’s a COVID-19 plasma shortage, but nowhere to donate in West Virginia

Coronavirus

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — James Meadows and his family tested positive for COVID-19. His son got the worst of it and was placed on a ventilator, fighting for his life.

Meadows said his son was saved after having a COVID-19 convalescent plasma treatment.

“He’s on his way to recovery. Without the plasma, he wouldn’t be there, where he’s at today. He’d probably be gone,” Meadows said.

After Meadows recovered himself, he set out to donate his plasma.

“Because maybe I can help somebody,” Meadows said.

Especially since Brenda Campbell, the Blood Blank Coordinator of Raleigh General Hospital, said there is currently a shortage of this specific plasma.

“There’s not that many people, I don’t think, that are positive enough that donate that you would actually have enough volume to fill the number of cases that might be in need,” Campbell explained.

When Meadows called the Red Cross to donate, he was told he would have to travel to Blacksburg, Virginia. A red Cross representative confirmed there are no places in West Virginia to donate plasma.

“One of the things I was told is that there are not enough donors in West Virginia. Well, here stands one,” explained Meadows.

The Red Cross started to test anyone who donates blood for COVID-19 antibodies. If they test positive, the Red Cross contacts them to ask them to donate their plasma. For a Beckley resident like Meadows, that is an hour and a half drive, crossing state lines.

Now, Meadows is turning to the government for help and asking other recovering COVID-19 patients to do the same.

“Call Jim Justice’s office and ask him why there is nowhere that we can go and donate our plasma,” Meadows asked.

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