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Sharp drop in blood donors means emergency need for blood

The American Red Cross says it's at its lowest post-summer blood inventory level in six years.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. —  The American Red Cross needs your blood and platelets.

Lower-than-expected blood donation means that many facilities have less than a one-day blood supply. Blood donor turnout decreased by about 10% as summer came to an end. While donations have dropped, hospital demand for blood remains strong. Donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to give now to help meet the needs of patients this fall.

COVID-19 and summer activities and holidays have reduced the number of donors even as the need for blood products increases.

Donors of all blood types, especially type O, and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to give now and in the weeks ahead to overcome this current shortage.

Those who come to donate in October will receive a link by email to claim a free Zaxby’s® Signature Sandwich reward or get a $5 e-gift card to a merchant of their choice.* All who come to give Oct. 11-31 will receive a bonus $5 e-gift card.**

According to the Red Cross, their national blood inventory is the lowest it’s been at this time of year since 2015, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks. 

The supply of types O positive and O negative blood, the most needed blood types by hospitals, dropped to less than a half-day supply at times over the last month. The ideal is a five-day supply.

“Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months, but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge,” said Red Cross Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pampee Young. “While it’s clear the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on our minds, the Red Cross asks the public to remember donating blood and platelets is essential to the many patients that rely on lifesaving transfusions every day.”

Is blood donation safe during COVID?

The Red Cross says that each blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance.

Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

And yes, you can donate blood and platelets if you've had a COVID vaccine or COVID-19.

Click here for information on how to donate or schedule a donation appointment.

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