STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Does the blood of vaccinated people look visibly darker than the blood of people who were not vaccinated and is this the result of hemoglobin depletion? No, that's not true: This video provides no evidence to back up this claim. According to the public relations director of Hoxworth Blood Center there is no difference in the appearance of blood between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, and blood donations are not labeled as vaccinated or unvaccinated.
The video was originally posted on the TikTok account carolinaconservative2 and was also posted on the Instagram account @carolinaconservative5 on October 6, 2021, with the caption, "This is triggering the brainwashed and I'm livin for it 😏". The opening caption of the video reads:
"I don't recommend receiving any blood from the [email protected]
This is how the post appeared on Instagram at the time of writing:
(Image source Instagram screenshot taken on Mon Oct 11 15:29:52 2021 UTC)
This video contains still images that are circulating on social media as standalone posts, one showing syringes, one showing bags. Elsewhere is yet another image showing glass vials. All show liquid that is a dark red compared to liquid that is almost black. In each picture there is a difference in color. One photo is marked claiming that the "inoculated blood" is "black and thick" and "depleted of hemoglobin".
(Image source: Lead Stories composite of screenshots from Facebook and Instagram posts taken on Mon Oct 11 16:16:25 2021 UTC)
On October 11, 2021, Lead Stories reached out by email to Cara Nicolas, the public relations director of Hoxworth Blood Center at the University of Cincinnati, to find out if there was any truth to these claims. She responded the same day with this reply:
This rumor is not true. There is no color difference (or vaccination-related hemoglobin depletion, for that matter) between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Furthermore, we don't label our blood as "vaccinated" or "unvaccinated," so there's no way to really compare. It is completely safe for patients to receive blood from individuals who have received their COVID vaccine, flu vaccine, etc. as long as the donor is generally well and healthy at the time of donation and meets all other blood donation eligibility requirements.
An article on Cincinnati's star64.tv published on June 2, 2021, titled, "Research says it's still safe to receive blood during pandemic" announces a news release from the National Institutes of Health about a study conducted between March and September 2020, before vaccines were widely available. It found the current donor screening guidelines were safe and there was no need to test blood for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The news segment features a short video of Hoxworth Blood Center's Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Oh, explaining that there is still a need for blood donations but due to the success of the vaccines the demand for convalescent plasma is so low that they were no longer requesting those specific donations.
At 01:07 minute into the news segment, bags marked "volunteer donor" and "red blood cells" are visible. These bags appear to be a similar color as the dark samples shown in the memes.
(Image source: screenshot star64.tv taken on Mon Oct 11 18:13:23 2021 UTC)
Lead Stories reached out by email on October 11, 2021 to Health Desk, a service that provides rapid responses from public health experts to journalist's health questions. On October 12, 2021, health-desk.org published an article responding to the rumors, including a description of factors that might affect the appearance of blood:
The blood of people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine is not visibly darker than the blood of vaccinated people.
Human blood is red because of a protein called hemoglobin that is inside it. This happens because hemoglobin contains a compound called heme that is colored red and helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Without hemoglobin and heme in it, blood would likely appear to be a lighter, yellower, clearer tone--the color of plasma--which is the part of blood that that is left when hemoglobin/red blood cells are removed. People who are vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have lower levels of hemoglobin in their blood and COVID-19 vaccines do not change the color of blood.
Blood can appear to be black when it dries out and hemoglobin breaks down through a chemical change. For example, this process can help forensic scientists identify when blood might have been left at a crime scene due to its dryness and color. Blood can also appear to be very dark or black (but is actually more likely to be old, brown blood) during women's menstruation cycles, during the first month to six weeks after childbirth or miscarriages, or other reasons.
The American Red Cross issued a fact sheet on July 28, 2021, titled, "Answers to Common Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines and Blood, Platelet or Plasma Donation Eligibility" it answers several concerns that people may have about the blood supply and the ability to donate blood if they have had COVID-19 or have received the COVID-19 vaccine, there is no mention of COVID-19 vaccines resulting in depleted hemoglobin.
Q: I've heard claims that the Red Cross refuses to accept convalescent plasma from individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine because it wipes out the antibodies. Is this true?
A: There are claims circulating that incorrectly state that the Red Cross will not accept convalescent plasma donations from those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine because "the vaccine wipes out those antibodies making the convalescent plasma ineffective in treating other COVID-19 patients." This is not accurate.
Due to the decline in hospital demand and because the Red Cross and our industry partners have been able to build a sufficient supply of convalescent plasma to meet the foreseeable needs of COVID-19 patients the Red Cross stopped collecting convalescent plasma completely on June 14.
2021-10-12T18:28:02Z 2021-10-12T18:28:02ZThis story was updated on October 12, 2021, to include an article from health-desk.org.