Nationwide blood shortage due to COVID-19

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A blood shortage, nationwide, is impacting those who need blood. These people rely on this supply, however, blood drive cancellations due to COVID-19 made this lack of supply fall into the urgent category. Sue Thew, Communications Manager at Vitalant, joins us to discuss this blood shortage.

“Right now we have just come off of a three week critical appeal for blood,” Thew said.

She explained that it has been challenging since the high schoolers bring in a large number of donors.

“By mid-June we were at a critical appeal for blood,” Thew said. “But, we have finally built supplies to reasonable levels for most blood types.”

This has brought all blood types into the urgent status, except for type O blood which is still classified as critical need. They use type O as the universal donor and for its platelets for cancer patients.

She explained that Independence Day weekend is very hard for blood donations. It is a time when many of the donors go out of town, and can also be a time when many can be injured.

“It’s kinda a recipe for disaster when it comes to the blood supply if we don’t have good supplies on hand,” Thew said.

We asked what is the current stance on elective surgeries.

“Now that the communities are opening up more and more, people are feeling more comfortable about scheduling essential surgeries that are geared to save your life,” Thew said.

“You don’t need to worry about passing on COVID-19 antibodies through a blood transfusion,” Thew said.

All of the donors are thoroughly screened and if they aren’t 100% healthy they do not let them donate blood that day.

“You put yourself at far greater rise not making sure that we have an ample supply of blood should they need a transfusion,” Thew said.

Sue Thew, Communications Manager at Vitalant

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