There’s a serious blood shortage in the United States, putting hospitals, patients, and medical personnel in the midst of one of the most critical times for blood donations since 1969, when President Nixon signed the proclamation making January National Blood Donor Month.
“This year’s National Blood Donor Month comes as the nation’s blood supply has dipped to concerning levels and could force hospitals to delay essential blood and platelet transfusions,” the Red Cross said in a January 2022 news release. “Blood donors of all blood types-particularly type O blood, the blood group hospitals need most-are needed now to give blood or platelets to help meet daily hospital demands.”
As The New York Times reported in an article published December 25, 2021, the pandemic has contributed to the blood shortage in multiple ways, including: canceled blood drives, difficulty attracting and retaining staff to collect donations, and concerns from individuals and organizations about potential coronavirus exposure for themselves, family members, or employees.
The Red Cross reports that it provides about 40% of the country’s blood and blood components, thanks to donors. “But supply can’t always meet demand because only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly,” it says on its website. “Each new donor helps us meet patient needs.”
Here are some other blood-related facts found on its website:
- One donation can save up to three lives.
- Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood and/or platelets.
- Less than 38% of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets.
- One car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.
- Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood or platelets.
- Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured; they can only come from volunteer donors.
- Each year, an estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S. donate blood.
If you’re able to donate, please do
On its website, The Red Cross posted this call-to-action: “This is serious. The Red Cross is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer hospitals from major surgery, including organ transplants. Your donation is desperately needed this holiday season. Please schedule an appointment to give now.”
The Red Cross, AABB, and America’s Blood Centers issued a joint statement in December 21, detailing the need for blood donations and providing links and phone numbers to learn when and where blood drives are happening-and to schedule appointments.
- AABB: www.aabb.org ; + 1 (301) 907-6977
- America’s Blood Centers: www.americasblood.org; +1 (202) 393-5725
- American Red Cross: www.RedCrossBlood.org; +1 (800) RED-CROSS or +1 (800) 733-2767
Additional incentive: a chance to go to the Super Bowl!
Helping to save someone’s life by giving blood is pretty wonderful, but in recognition of National Blood Donor Month, the Red Cross and the NFL have teamed up to give blood donors the chance to win two Super Bowl tickets! Blood donations must be made between January 1 and January 31. Interested donors who want a chance to win can read more here. Even those who don’t win Super Bowl tickets could get lucky with another give-away-the Big Game at Home package for an awesome viewing experience at home!
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