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Desperate need for donors amid 'national blood crisis'

Virus Outbreak Arizona
Posted at 9:28 PM, Jan 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-17 23:28:47-05

Non-profit blood providers across the country are sounding the alarm on a serious blood donation shortage.

For the first time ever, the American Red Cross declared a national blood crisis last week, as it faces its worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

It’s a problem other non-profit organizations that supply our local hospitals in the Valley say they’re facing too.

Vitalant is Arizona’s largest community non-profit blood provider. They announced a national blood shortage days before the American Red Cross.

Vitalant Arizona Communications Manager Sue Thew told ABC15 they need about 600 donors every single day to meet the need of the hospitals they service in the state. Their supply is currently at a two-year low.

“If we can’t rebuild blood supplies to an adequate level, we run the risk of having hospitals having to consider canceling elective surgeries,” Thew said.

There are several reasons for the current shortage, according to Vitalant.

The holiday season marks the lowest donation time of the year, but January follows as the highest transfusion month of the year.

The pandemic has also continued to dwindle the blood supply, between virtual workforces leading to fewer blood drive locations and the omicron variant making a lot of donors not eligible right now.

“It’s a very serious situation that we are trying very, very hard to rebuild blood supplies,” Thew said.

The need is great for all blood types, but especially the universal Type O.

If you’ve had COVID-19, you’re eligible to donate again two weeks after you’re symptom-free. You are also eligible to donate if you have received a COVID-19 vaccine or participated in a vaccine trial.

To find a Vitalant donation location near you, click here.

To find a Red Cross drive near you, click here.