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Orangevale Sun

Blood Supply Sinks to Lowest Level in a Year

Jan 19, 2023 12:00AM ● By Vitalant News Release

Donors needed to make up for 50 percent decline in donations at business blood drives. Photo by Ahmad Ardity/Pixabay

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - 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 the way 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% in 2022 from 2019, a decline of 90,000 donations. Overall, the number of people donating with Vitalant has dropped about 20% in the last three years, while patients’ needs remain strong.

Mitzy Edgecomb, Vitalant’s west division vice president, reports, “The frequency of emergency blood shortages is a grave concern for all of us. Because blood is perishable with no artificial substitute, the blood supply must be constantly replenished. Despite extraordinary outreach efforts in the last few months, blood inventory continues to be dangerously low.”

Vitalant notes that new donors and those who haven’t donated recently are critical to end blood shortages and help our blood supply return to more stable, pre-pandemic levels.

In addition to societal shifts, recent blood drive cancellations forced by severe winter weather and illnesses have compounded the shortage. Blizzards, rain/wind/flooding and extreme cold caused more than 2,000 donations to go uncollected in December and early January.

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.

Vitalant (“Vye-TAL-ent”) is the nation’s largest independent, nonprofit blood services provider exclusively focused on providing lifesaving blood and comprehensive transfusion medicine services for about 900 hospitals and their patients across the U.S. Every day, Vitalant needs to collect nearly 5,000 blood, platelet, and plasma donations to help save lives. For more information and to schedule a donation appointment, visit vitalant.org or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825). Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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