Las Vegas plasma center sees surge in residents donating to cover costs

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — More people are donating plasma to cover costs, new donors can receive $100 per donation.

Grifols operates a network of plasma donation centers. One of their newest locations is the Biomat USA Plasma Center off Tropicana in Las Vegas.

The center’s director, Janay Thomas, says that when the center opened in December, they saw around 80 donors a week. Now they see 700.

Grifols General Affairs Manager Vlasta Hakes said across the board they have seen an increase over the past three months.

Plasma is the liquid part of blood that contains proteins and antibodies that help our body function. She said the donation process involves taking the plasma and extracting proteins and antibodies to make specific drugs that treat people with rare and chronic diseases. The difference between blood and plasma donation is that plasma takes a little longer. Your red blood cells are returned to you and they retain the plasma.

“These drugs save lives, they make life better, they give people the opportunity to live a better life. So really important and critical for many patients who are dependent on medication, there is no other treatment,” Hakes said.

Each plasma donation can be used to make approximately five different drugs.

“Plasma is mostly water, so your body replenishes it very quickly, so a plasma donor can donate more often – up to twice a week as long as they have a full day in between. is important because, as I mentioned, it’s mostly water, so we need lots of donations to get enough protein and antibodies to make the drug,” Hakes said.

As for the increase in the number of donors, Hakes said they couldn’t attribute it directly to inflation. FOX5 spoke with donors who said the extra money they receive is for basic needs.

Kathryn Ristine donates twice a week. She went to the donation center right after work. Even though Ristine works full time, she said she uses the money to pay her bills.

“For gas, for food, to help pay the bills. And then the rent is due next week,” Ristine said.

Shannon Granada has been a donor for just over a year.

“Where I work, I’ve met someone who actually benefits people who donate plasma, so it was pretty nice to know that what I’m doing is actually benefiting people,” Granada said.

Compensation for new donors includes the payment of $100 for the first 8 donations. Return donor compensation includes donating twice a week, where the first donation of the week you make $40, the second donation of the week is $40 plus a bonus of $40, making $80 in total. It’s $120 a week.

“So we really see this as a win-win. Donors come in, they help save lives, and then they also get a little bit that can help them in their day-to-day life,” Hakes said.

The first donation may take a few hours. It includes a health screening with temperature, blood pressure and weight checks.

After your first donation, it may take 45 minutes to an hour.

For those interested in donating, click here.

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