COVID-19 survivor hopes to encourage others to donate plasma

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston man who has recovered from COVID-19 is now encouraging other survivors to donate convalescent plasma to help local patients in need.

Jeffery Kerst, 27, fell ill with the virus in May, and tested positive for it up until a few weeks ago.

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Since then, he's been donating convalescent plasma weekly and hopes others will do the same for patients still fighting.

"I feel like if you have the ability to give back, you have the responsibility to give back," Kerst said. "That's the kind of the mantra I've always lived by, and I know that I'm somebody who's very fortunate to have had an immune system that I do, and be the age that I am, and I have time right now to be able to give back. So the possibility to make a difference in somebody else's life, I feel like, as a healthcare provider, that's kind of the oath that I've taken."

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Kerst, a dentist, even admits he's not a fan of needles, but says he plans to donate antibodies as often as he can and as long as he has them.

"If your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your grandma, your grandpa, or somebody that you love needed this, would you put up with a pinch and 35 minutes of your time in order to potentially save their life? If the answer to that question is yes, then donating plasma is the right thing for you to do if you have the ability to do so," Kerst said.

To donate convalescent plasma, you must be fully recovered from COVID-19 with no symptoms for at least 14 days.
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