World Blood Donor Day is June 14 and Vitalant, which supplies donated blood to more than 900 hospitals across the U.S, including 21 in the New Jersey/New York area, is urging all eligible donors to make an appointment now to give at any of its nearly 120 donation centers or at a community drive to replenish the blood supply in the coming days and weeks.
First-time donors do not need to know their blood type before they give; in fact, donors can now get a glimpse of their blood type right at their first donation appointment.
There is no also waiting period to give blood after receiving an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
With communities reopening from the pandemic, travel resuming and patients seeking previously postponed medical care, the nonprofit has less than a needed four-day supply of most blood types to meet patient needs at a moment’s notice.
Type O blood, which is most often used in trauma situations – especially type O negative, because it can be transfused to patients with any blood type in an emergency room setting – is below a two-day supply.
Blood donations fell more than 4,000 short of need in May, while that need has only increased.
Blood drive cancellations forced by COVID-19 challenges continue to affect donation rates. In fact, anticipated uncollected donations from business-hosted blood drive cancellations reached a four-month high of more than 6,200 blood donations in June.
“That’s why it’s so important to patient care for generous donors to make an appointment now to give in the coming days or weeks at a donation center or another community blood drive,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant’s senior vice president of donor services and chief of marketing.
“A drop in donations over any period of time is concerning, but especially right now when the supply is already low,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant’s chief medical and scientific officer. “Blood and platelet donations are needed now and throughout the summer to prevent delays in lifesaving patient care.”
The World Health Organization established World Blood Donor Day in 2005 to raise global awareness about the need to maintain a safe and ready blood supply and the vital role volunteer donors play. Every day, Vitalant needs to collect about 5,300 blood, platelet and plasma donations to help save lives.
For more information and to schedule a donation appointment, visit Vitalant’s website or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).