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Starr County health authority stresses importance of plasma donations from COVID-19 survivors

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When people get with the coronavirus, a battle breaks out inside their bodies. Some will rouse the soldiers needed to combat the enemy virus — those are called antibodies. There are others who can’t get ready in time and they need help.

“So, the treatment or transfusion with what is called convalescent plasma, basically saves your body from all of the work that you need to put into producing antibodies. The production of antibodies normally takes up to two or three weeks,” said Dr. Jose Vazquez, Starr County health authority.

Dr. Vazquez is the latest expert to sound the alarm.

“We have the need for as much plasma as we can get,” Dr. Vazquez says.

Plasma donations essentially buy time. They can keep a patient from losing the battle and needing a ventilator. Not enough people are donating — not in Starr County nor in Hidalgo County.

The thing is, not just anyone can donate. Only those who have had the virus and recovered can donate 28 days after the onset symptoms or a positive PCR test result. They must be over 18 years of age and not pregnant.

Dr. Vazquez, himself, is planning to give. On Monday night, he announced he would be eligible.

“Once I became a patient myself, I thought I need to do something more than what I am already doing,” the doctor said.

Dr. Vazquez is working with DHR Health Institute for Research and Development. It’s planning to take a mobile unit to Starr County in the coming days. People will need to be prescreened in the days leading up to the visit.

Plasma donated will be available throughout the Rio Grande Valley for anyone in need of fortified defense.

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