The Rock River Valley Blood Center (RRVBC) announced the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has updated eligible donor guidelines allowing more people to donate blood and strengthen the nation’s blood supply during a critical time. In May, the FDA announced donors who had been permanently deferred for Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) risk factors, are now eligible to donate blood and the permanent deferral has been removed. By following the best available evidence, the FDA is allowing more people to donate blood without risking the safety of our nation’s blood supply.

In addition, the FDA announced potential donors who have a geographic risk of possible exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy for time spent in the United Kingdom (U.K.) from 1980-1996 and for time spent in France and Ireland from 1980-2001, may begin donating again. Additionally, those who received a blood transfusion in the U.K., France, and Ireland from 1980-present can also now donate blood with no deferrals.

“The updated guidelines come at a critical time for blood centers across the nation, as well as our center locally, as we continue to experience a blood shortage,” said Lisa Entrikin, CEO of the Rock River Valley Blood Center. “We urge all individuals and especially those who are now eligible again to please schedule a donation as we need you now more than ever.”

Permanent deferrals remain in place for donors who have had a human cadaveric (allogeneic) dura mater transplant and for donors who volunteer that they suspect having vCJD, CJD or another similar disease; have a blood relative diagnosed with a similar disease; or who received cadaveric pituitary human growth hormone.

For an entire list of the update guidelines, head to

Donating blood is simple. After registering, a donor care specialist will take individual’s vitals (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin), and each person must complete an eligibility questionnaire before they can sit back and relax while giving. The donation itself only lasts about 10 minutes. Refreshments await after donating.

First-time donors should bring a photo ID. Individuals can donate a single unit (whole blood donation, the most common type) every 56 days. Students can donate once they turn 16 years of age and must have a signed parental consent.

To schedule a donation, visit, call 815-965-8751 or use the myRRVBC app.