Folks have been reluctant to give blood the past two years, due to inconveniences and health concerns surrounding COVID-19. As the holiday season, continues, the American Red Cross of Cedar Rapids assures you that doing so is safe as they implore you to donate at a special holiday donation drive being held this month.

The need for blood is great for transfusion usage in particular

There is no waiting period to give blood if you have recently received any of the Coronavirus vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson) and as long as you are symptom-free you are eligible to donate. The same goes if you have had your flu shot recently. A media release goes on to say "if more donors don’t come forward to give blood, some patients requiring a transfusion may potentially face delays in care."

What's in it for me?

#1, see above, but you'll also get a snazzy Red Cross t-shirt for your help.

How do I donate?

They get that another one of the reasons people won't come forward to donate blood is time or lack thereof. Appointments to give blood, platelets, or plasma with the Red Cross can be made by downloading the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting their website, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Use sponsor code CRCommunity when making an appointment online. You can also save up to 15 minutes by downloading and filling out a pre-donation questionnaire here.

When you arrive for your appointment, have a driver's license/photo ID with you or two other forms of identification to check-in. If you're 17 (or 16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds, and meet the above medical criteria, you are good to go and can donate blood.

Iowa Facts You Likely Never Knew

Iowa has a state with a rich history and many fun facts, How many of these did you already know? Test your Iowa knowledge!

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

More From AM 950 KOEL