University of California San Francisco Give to UCSF

500 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143

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As people shelter at home, there has been a critical nation-wide blood shortage which also will impact UCSF Health and our ability to care for patients. 

The nation’s two largest blood providers, American Red Cross and Vitalant, have put out calls for emergency donations. We are partnering with Vitalant, the largest provider in San Francisco, to address this growing crisis.

Make an appointment »   (Sponsor Code: UCSF)

If you would like to donate and aren’t able to get your preferred slot or all available appointment slots are filled, please consider donating at a blood center in the Bay Area of your choosing (Vitalant or American Red Cross).

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I eligible to donate blood? Please see eligibility requirements from Vitalant. Standard requirements have been updated to include a 28-day deferral for donors who have increased risk of COVID-19 exposure within the last four weeks. 

We are under shelter-in-place orders. Is blood donation considered an essential activity? Even if you are sheltering in place, you can leave home to do “essential” things such as buy food, pick up medications — and donate blood, which falls under the category of necessary medical activities. 

What happens before and during the donation visit? Please complete the fast track health history questionnaire before arrival to (but on the same day as) your appointment (sign up here, sponsor code: UCSF). Please bring a picture ID with first and last name.  Plan to spend one hour total for your visit.  The session begins with COVID-19 screening questions about your travel, health symptoms, and possible exposure to someone with COVID-19; health history; and a mini-physical (including temperature, blood pressure, finger stick blood check).  The blood donation takes 10-15 minutes.  Donors rest, hydrate, and snack for 15 minutes before leaving.  Prepare by hydrating in the day to hours beforehand.  Try to eat dark leafy greens, lentils, and dark meats with a side of vitamin C to replenish your iron.

What happens if my screening indicates concern about potential COVID-19? You will not be able to donate blood. You will be given a mask and asked to follow up with your health care provider for further instructions.  

What steps will be taken to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to volunteer donors?  Donors will come by appointment only to prevent crowding, and appointments will be limited to space out participants and reduce waiting.  The blood donation will be set up to comply with social distancing guidelines, and visitors accompanying donors will not be allowed in the blood donation area. Donors will be screened for COVID-19 upon before entry. Vitalant staff follow rigorous safety and disinfection protocols. 

Is there risk of transmission of COVID-19 to blood product recipients?  There are no known cases of transfusion-transmission of COVID-19.

Will the donated blood be tested for COVID-19? Vitalant does not test blood for COVID-19.

What if there are no appointments available at my preferred time at the UCSF blood drive or if I want to donate before April 1st? If you would like to donate and all available appointment slots are filled, please email Anya Greenberg ( and Hope Schwartz ( to express your interest.  This will help us track demand to inform planning for future drives at UCSF. You can also donate at a blood center in the Bay Area of your choosing (Vitalant or American Red Cross). Please use their app, their website, or call to make an appointment. The nearest blood center to UCSF’s Parnassus Campus is the Vitalant Irwin Memorial Blood Center on Masonic Ave--a 10-minute drive or 30-minute walk from Parnassus. 

Event Details

  • kathy brady-porter
  • Rochelle Blanco
  • Julie McCluggage
  • Connie D'Aura

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