December 13, 2021

Blood donations needed to address shortages

Pixabay/public domain

Pixabay/public domain

Blood donations in Indiana have dwindled due to busy holiday schedules, COVID-19 challenges and winter weather.

The American Red Cross said 40 percent of the country’s blood reserves are at historically low levels. Indiana Regional Communication director LaMar Holliday said current blood bank supplies are dangerously low which can impact medical procedures.

"So, when we look at the Indiana region, we are down to a day and a half worth of supply. Patients that rely on that blood, patients that have chronic illnesses, have traumatic injuries, who need blood transfusions, those patients’ care is being been delayed because the supply is so low,” Holliday said.

All blood types are in short supply, but one type is always in demand.

“If you have O type blood, that is the most needed blood type, because that is what we call the universal blood type. That's what hospitals go to when there is no time to figure out a patient's blood type,” Holliday said.

If someone has had COVID-19, they can still donate blood, but must exercise precautions.

“If they've had COVID, the only thing that we do ask is to make sure that you are healthy," Holliday said. "If you are feeling any symptoms of COVID 19, we just ask that you defer your donation.” 

There is no blood donation waiting period for anyone who has received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines or booster shots. Donors are asked to make appointments prior to arriving at a donation site by visiting redcrossblood.org.  

Contact WFYI All Things Considered newscaster and reporter Terri Dee at tdee@wfyi.org.

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