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Blood services urge donors to give as supply reaches "dangerously low level"

Posted at 8:46 AM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 10:14:02-05

A national blood and platelet shortage is impacting the nation’s healthcare system, according to Vitalant.

Vitalant, which services about 900 hospitals across the country, is urging eligible donors to consider making an appointment this January as the blood supply faces an historic, two-year low.

The recent donation shortfall is part of a larger trend as 58,000 fewer individuals gave blood with Vitalant in 2021 than 2020.

For every 100 donation appointments made, Vitalant says about 35 people don’t keep their commitment

Additional donors are needed now to help turn the trend around, they say.

The omicron variant is the latest COVID-19 complication forcing community blood drives to cancel and lessening the number of healthy and available donors.

Additionally, Vitalant says inclement weather and seasonal illness has significantly reduced the number of blood drives and donor availability.

“Now is the time when new blood donors, those that haven’t given in a while and regular donors are all needed to step up and help address this critical healthcare issue,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant senior vice president. “Astonishingly, only about 3% of the population donates blood, but most people are eligible. If more people start donating, shortages could be prevented.”

Blood shortages have also been reported by other blood services organizations in the U.S.

In December, America's Blood Centers, the American Red Cross and the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies issued a joint statement announcing that the blood supply had reached its lowest levels in recent years.

They urged donors to consider giving blood to avert the need to postpone potential lifesaving treatments.

Read the full joint statement, here.

To make an appointment with Vitalant, click here.

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