Vitalant declares blood shortage emergency
The blood supply for about 900 hospitals nationwide recently dipped to its lowest level in a year at Vitalant, triggering a blood emergency for the nonprofit blood services provider. Eligible donors of all blood types, especially type O, are needed now to schedule an appointment and donate in the days and weeks ahead to prevent delays for patients who need transfusions.
Changes in how people work, live and play since the start of the pandemic created lasting challenges to maintaining an adequate blood supply. As many people continue to work remotely, blood donations at business-hosted blood drives are down by 50 percent in 2022 from 2019, a decline of 90,000 donations. Overall, the number of people donating with Vitalant has dropped about 20 percent in the last three years, while patients’ needs remain strong.
“New donors and those who haven’t donated recently are critical to helping end this shortage. Patient needs continue but societal shifts have kept blood donations from rebounding to pre-pandemic levels,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant senior vice president. “Starting the new year by scheduling a blood donation can make an incredible impact in your community.”
In addition, recent blood drive cancellations forced by severe winter weather and illnesses have compounded the shortage. Blizzards and extreme cold caused more than 2,000 donations to go uncollected in December and early January across the country.
Donors of every blood type are critical to ending this shortage and maintaining an adequate supply. The need is most acute for type O blood and platelets. Type O-positive is the most transfused blood type while O-negative can help patients of any blood type. Donated platelets, which often help cancer patients, must be used within a week.
Learn more about hosting blood drives, donating blood and make an appointment to give at vitalant.org, download and use the Vitalant app or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825). During January, National Blood Donor Month, all those who come to give blood through Jan. 20 will be automatically entered to win tickets, travel and more in the Big Trip to the Big Game Giveaway. Learn more at vitalant.org/biggame.