Background: In this survey, we aimed to provide early insight into the impact of COVID-19 on blood donors and their motivation to donate during the crisis.
Study design and methods: We asked representative samples in 7 European countries about their blood donation activity and motivation to donate using an online survey. We analysed donor turnout during the COVID-19 period descriptively and using logistic regression.
Results: Of the 7122 people that responded to the survey, 1205 blood donors were identified, with 33·8% donating during the first 4–5 months of the COVID-19 period. We observed that around half of donors donated less than normal. The vast majority of donors that did donate made a special effort to do so in response to COVID-19. The majority of donors were also not aware of their blood being tested for COVID-19 antibodies. Although the perceived risk of infection among all respondents whilst donating blood was relatively low, those who anticipated a high risk of infection were much less likely to donate. Furthermore, those that were adherent to COVID guidelines were also less likely to donate.
Discussion: We suggest that blood collection services consider specialist campaigns that focus on the altruistic motivation of donors during the crisis and that they continue to communicate the additional safety measures in place with the aim of reducing the fear of infection whilst donating blood.