The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has loosened its restrictions for blood donor eligibility requirements in order to allow some gay men to donate during the coronavirus pandemic, FOX 11 Los Angeles reports.
The decision to modify the restrictions came as organizations like the American Red Cross are in desperate need for donations from healthy individuals due to a shortage in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak sweeping across the U.S.
"For male donors who would have been deferred for having sex with another man: the agency is changing the recommended deferral period from 12 months to 3 months," the FDA wrote in a press release Thursday.
The modifications will also change the recommended deferral period for females who have had sex with a man who had sex with another man from 12 months to three months. It also will allow donors who had recent tattoos and piercings to donate after a three-month deferral period.
"We believe these updated recommendations will have a significant and positive impact on our blood supply," the FDA stated.
The new guidelines are expected to remain in place after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, "with any appropriate changes based on comments we receive and our experience implementing the guidances," the FDA said.
Last month, the American Red Cross announced that nearly 2,700 blood drives across the county had been canceled due to the pandemic. The organization said that more than 80% of its donations are collected at those drives.
Individuals can schedule an appointment to give blood with the Red Cross by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
Click here for more information from the FDA.