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September 25th, 2009

Waiting Period Eliminated for Most Blood Donors Getting Tattoos

New Windsor - Blood and platelet donors who previously had to wait a year after getting a tattoo before being able to donate again at Community Blood Services no longer will have to wait to donate as long as they were tattooed at a licensed facility under sterile conditions.

“This is great news for our community’s critically low blood supply,” said Garrett Allen, call center manager. Allen noted that more than 500 donors who wanted to continue donating were deferred during past year.

“If each of those donors had donated at least twice a year, that means we probably lost 1000 pints of lifesaving blood,” Allen said.

Allen is encouraging anyone who has been tattooed during the past year to call the blood center at 201-251-3703 (NJ) or 845-220-2030 (NY) to schedule their appointment today and continue to help save the lives of patients at their community hospitals. Walk-ins are also welcome but an appointment is needed to donate platelets.

“Every blood donation can save up to three lives,” he said, noting the return of tattooed blood donors could help ease the blood shortage.

Allen said anyone who gets a tattoo from and unlicensed facility, or in non-sterile conditions, still must wait a year before returning to donate.

Community Blood Services provides blood and blood products to more than 30 hospitals in northern New Jersey , southern New York State and parts of New York City . It operates convenient donor centers in Paramus and Lincoln Park in New Jersey and in New Windsor and Warwick in New York , as well as mobile blood drives throughout both states.

Whole blood donors must be 17-75 years old (16 with parental consent) and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors also receive complimentary cholesterol, glucose, hemoglobin and blood pressure screenings.

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