(HealthDay News) — There is an urgent need for blood donations as the U.S. blood supply drops to one of its lowest levels in more than a decade, the American Red Cross said Tuesday.
In the past few weeks, blood centers nationwide have reported “a dangerously low level” of less than a one-day supply of certain critical blood types, which means that lifesaving blood may not be available for some patients when they need it.
And it is desperately needed right now: Blood centers have struggled with declines in blood donor turnout, blood drive cancellations, staffing shortages, and misinformation about donor eligibility. Surging COVID-19 cases and winter storms threaten to further disrupt the nation’s blood supply, according to a statement from the Red Cross, the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies, and America’s Blood Centers.
The groups urged “healthy individuals to contact their local blood center and make an appointment to donate blood today,” and also asked “local businesses to encourage their employees, including those working remotely, to find their local blood donation center and schedule an appointment to donate throughout 2022.”
More than 16 million units of blood and blood products are transfused each year in the United States, with more than 45,000 units needed daily.
People who have received any of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States — Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson — can donate blood and platelets as long as they are symptom-free and feeling well at the time of donation.