Donors Wanted, Blood Shortage Continues

In September, the American Red Cross declared a national blood shortage due to the low supply level following a 25% drop from the prior month.

The low supply prompted a call to action from their organization to provide the necessary inventory to support hospitals struggling to provide for their patients .

Additionally, the low storage was considered to be a threat to patients battling chronic illnesses such as cancer or sickle cell disease where blood transfusions are a crucial part of their regular treatment .

The Red Cross has speculated that the shortage in supply has been caused and exacerbated by multiple climate-related incidents, as well as a busy travel season this past summer that led to the cancellation or postponement of blood drives.

Natural disasters such as Hurricane Idalia were considered to be one of the sources of the crisis as over 700 units of blood and platelets reportedly went uncollected, causing a disruption in the transfusion process.

Blood donation has reportedly also decreased over the years following the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of participation in school and corporate blood drives.

Since their announcement, the Red Cross has requested that potential donors of all blood types step forward with an emphasis on those with type O blood as it is a universal blood type that can be shared with any patient.

The state of New York is working on doing its part as the state’s Blood Center is attempting to work with schools again to resume blood drives as demand continues to increase.

The New York Blood Center’s Senior Vice President Andrea Cefarelli regarded November as an exemplary month for blood donations but expressed concern over the incoming holiday season due to the shortage in donations during that period.

Concerns have been raised that the coming of the winter season, which usually brings an uptick in cold and flu cases, will present an additional barrier to collection and donation of blood as sick and occupied individuals will be less likely to participate in blood drives. Facilities such as universities and high schools, which are considered to be major donor hubs, also are normally closed for weeks at a time during the winter season, presenting a problem for increased donations.

In the past, Cefarelli noted that students have always been the most generous donors, with the group accounting for approximately 25 percent of the donations. Cefarelli hopes to spike up the numbers again after the holiday season, as January is celebrated within the donation community as “National Blood Donor Month”.

“It’s a good time to raise awareness as there is a constant need for blood,” Cefarelli said.

In terms of spreading awareness, the New York Blood Center has been working on social media and marketing tactics to target potential donors, especially students, to bring the numbers back up to pre-pandemic levels.

“Life is turning around and everything is truly returning to normal,” Cefarelli added.

For those interested in donating blood or interested in organizing a drive, you can either book an appointment on the New York Blood Center website at or call the organization at (800)-933-2566 for more information.

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