The blood supply in the United States has reached one of its lowest levels in recent years. Blood centers across the country are reporting less than a one-day’s supply of blood — a dangerously low level. If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, lifesaving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed.
The current status of the U.S. blood supply is particularly concerning amid the holiday season and winter months — a time in which blood donations typically decrease due to travel, inclement weather and seasonal illnesses.
Blood components have a short shelf-life and the blood supply needs to be constantly replenished. Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency. In the U.S., more than 16 million units of blood and blood products are transfused annually with more than 45,000 units needed daily.
Blood donations are needed now to avert the need to potentially postpone lifesaving treatments. Some hospitals have already been forced to alter treatment for some patients or cancel some patient surgeries due to blood supply challenges.
This year, as the country continues to confront the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, blood centers nationwide are facing additional challenges and unprecedented disruption in the form of a decline in donor turnout due to remote work, blood drive cancellations, schools and businesses limiting the number of individuals allowed onsite as a precautionary pandemic practice, and misinformation regarding donor eligibility after receiving an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross are joining together to urge eligible, healthy individuals to contact their local blood center and make an appointment today to donate blood today. We also ask local businesses to encourage their employees, including those working remotely, to find their local center and schedule an appointment to donate and give the gift of life this holiday season. Doing so is essential to maintaining the stability of the nation’s blood supply, which ensures life-saving medical treatments are available for patients.
The blood community relies on the generosity of blood donors to help save lives throughout the year. Please contact one of the following organizations to find a local blood collection site and to schedule an appointment to donate:
- 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 (+1.800.733.2767)
Blood donation remains a safe way that eligible individuals can help save lives throughout the holidays. Individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized in the U.S., including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, are able to donate blood and platelets as long as they are symptom-free and feeling well at the time of donation. Blood collection organizations continue to adapt their safety protocols to align with local, state and federal guidance to ensure the safest possible experience for all donors, staff and blood drive hosts.