Plasma shortage cuts woman's medicine in half, she says

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By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 21, 2019

Courtesy: Stacey Rowe Photography

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The American Red Cross said it has had an emergency shortage of blood and platelet donations since late December. In January, there were 14,000 fewer donations than usual.

One South Georgia woman said the problem stems beyond blood and platelets and includes plasma as well.

Tammy Rowe, who spoke to reporter Katie Kaplan over the phone from her home in Baconton, said she was shocked earlier this month when she was told she was only getting half of the medication she usually receives. She described how she has suffered from Common Variable Immune Deficiency her entire life.

"I have less antibodies than most people to fight off germs," she explained. "I had shingles and then I had pneumonia because my immune system was so low and I was just getting infected with just everything that was out there."

She said it was not until recently that she learned plasma injections could help fight the disease.

"By me getting that into my body, that's giving me somebody's antibodies that help fight off germs," she said.

However, she was shocked when she got a call earlier this month.

"They said, 'Tammy, due to a shortage, we're going to give you a lesser dosage than we normally do. There's nothing we can do,'" she recalled.

She said worry immediately set in.

"What went through my mind is, 'Oh gosh,' because I really don't want to get sick again," she said. "If you are healthy, please give."

Donating plasma is a different process than donating blood. Most facilities will pay for the plasma donation. A local facility is Biomat USA in Tallahassee. It is located at 1950 West Tennessee Street and can be reached at 850-222-0195