Bexar County planning to pay COVID-19 survivors for plasma

Donors could get up to $100 per donation

SAN ANTONIO – If you’ve recovered from Covid-19, you could get paid to help others heal from the virus.

A new initiative in Bexar County is underway, aimed at getting people who have Covid-19 antibodies to donate their plasma, which in turn could save lives of people suffering from severe cases.

Survivor Angela Caporale is hoping the program helps inspire others to donate. She’s already done so five times.

Since she was 3-years-old, Angela Caporale has worked to master the violin. Her skills landed her a spot in the San Antonio Symphony and she gained her credibility as a local violin teacher. But this summer, the music came to a screeching halt. Caporale was diagnosed with Covid-19.

“All of the symptoms came a little bit. One after the other… I lost my taste…like, uh oh,” Caporale said.

Fortunately for Caporale, her coughing, headaches, fever and chills only lasted about a week and she was able to pick back up her passion.

“I feel very, very fortunate,” Caporale said.

RELATED: Survived COVID-19? Here’s what it’s like to donate plasma, and why it’s so crucial

Caporale also gained a sense of fulfillment when she learned about being able to help others by donating her plasma, which was rich with Covid-19 antibodies.

The treatment has been shown to help save lives. Through her five donations, Caporale estimates her plasma has been transfused into 15 very sick patients.

But, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez says Caporale is in the small minority of the 40,000 or so recovered patients in our area who take the time to get screened and donate.

“Only hundreds of the 40,000 have actually donated plasma,” Rodriguez said.

Now there is an incentive to find more donors. Rodriguez says the county secured $150,000 in federal funding to be divvied up into stipends for eligible donors.

“It’ll be somewhere between $50 and $100 per donation,” Rodriguez said.

Caporale hopes the extra change will be enough to inspire others.

“I feel so good being out there and watching other people give,” Caporale said.

The stipend program should be finalized by the end of September, but if you plan to donate plasma before then, Rodriguez says hold on to proof of your donations because you could get retro pay.

For more information on the program, contact Commissioner Rodriguez’s office by clicking here.

RELATED: ‘It saved my life’: COVID-19 survivors reflect on importance of convalescent plasma donations

About the Authors

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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