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Fear of side-effects keeps plasma donors away in Haryana

By Sunil Rahar, Rohtak
UPDATED ON AUG 06, 2020 12:23 AM IST

Haryana has witnessed a lukewarm response to the call for convalescent plasma donation as only 49 people have come forward.

Twenty patients who recently recovered from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have donated plasma at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak, 16 in Faridabad, 11 in Gurugram and two in Panchkula, reveal the data obtained from the four plasma banks.

The convalescent plasma therapy has been given to 25 patients in Faridabad, 17 in Rohtak, five in Gurugram and two in Panchkula. Haryana’s first plasma bank was set up at ESIC hospital in Faridabad in the second week of July and since then, three more such banks have come up in Rohtak, Gurugram and Panchkula.

Head of the medicine department at PGIMS, Dr VK Katyal, said they have been taking plasma from people aged between 18 and 60 on the basis of their health conditions.

“This therapy is a boon for a Covid-19 patient, whose kidney and liver are damaged. We are treating a 39-year-old patient, who is suffering from a liver problem. He has shown significant improvement after two convalescent therapies,” he added.

On being asked about tepid response to plasma donation in Haryana, state’s nodal officer for Covid-19 Dr Dhruva Chaudhary said 33% of the recovered patients have shown unwillingness to donate plasma.

“Many recovered patients with kidney, heart, lung or liver diseases are not eligible for the donation. Moreover, women who have ever been pregnant and someone weighing less than 50kg are also barred from the donation,” he added.

The nodal officer said nearly 17% of the recovered patients were found to be unfit for the donation as they suffered from various diseases.

“About 10% recovered patients have given wrong details on helpline numbers introduced to enrol people for plasma donation. Many people are skipping donations so that they can offer it to their family members in the case they get infected. Few donors fear that they could witness side effects if they donate plasma,” Dr Chaudhary said.

“A plasma donor should have normal weight, haemoglobin level above 12 and no history of diabetes or hypertension. Moreover, the donor should not have hepatitis B or C and HIV. The therapy will be administered to those with respiratory rate higher than 30 (normal is 20), oxygen saturation less than 90% (normal is 95 to 100%), or pus in their lungs,” the doctor added.

‘Want to save it for my father’

A 23-year-old recovered patient from Rohtak, who refused to donate plasma, said, “My father is suffering from diabetes and I want to save the plasma for him in case he contracts the infection.”

“I am the sole breadwinner of my family and I didn’t donate plasma for the fear of side effects. I took this decision as a precautionary measure for my family,” said a 36-year-old man from Jhajjar.

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