Legislator Can't Donate Plasma At Own Event Due To FDA Policy

Aug 10, 2020
State Rep. Shevrin Jones is interviewed by TV station

State Rep. Shevrin Jones is the first — and only — out, gay, Black member of the Florida Legislature.

He’s also a survivor of COVID-19.


Gov. Ron DeSantis put out a call Monday for people who have had COVID-19 to donate blood, as the state topped 5,000 deaths of Florida residents due to the pandemic.

“One of the treatments that many physicians around the state believe is very effective is the use of convalescent plasma,” DeSantis said Monday while at the Orlando headquarters of OneBlood, a blood-donation agency.

Officials with Florida blood donation center OneBlood are calling for individuals who are eligible to donate convalescent plasma.

As coronavirus cases surge, the group says the need for plasma is extraordinarily high.

Plasma from the survivors of COVID-19 can be a life-saving therapy for those who are hospitalized due to coronavirus, but Sarasota doctors say supplies are critically low and donations are urgently needed.

“We are in desperate need of plasma," said Kirk Voelker, a critical care pulmonologist at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have transfused thousands of COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma, and the results show it is a safe method for treating the disease. 

Diana Berrent learned she had tested positive for COVID-19 on a Wednesday in mid-March. Within a day, she had received 30 emails from people urging her to donate blood.

The Tampa veterans’ hospital is joining several hospitals in Florida in a national study looking at whether blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be used to treat patients with the disease.

Baptist Health is collecting plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to treat current patients in the Jacksonville area.

Stacie Rathel chats with her husband, Michael Kevin Rathel, who got an experimental treatment for COVID-19 plasma, and antibodies, of someone who had recovered from the virus.
Courtesy of Stacie Rathel

Last week, Michael Kevin Rathel got a transfusion of convalescent plasma: a blood donation from someone who has recovered from COVID-19.