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National Associations Make Urgent Call for Blood Donations

Without action, blood supply crisis could jeopardize care

January 28, 2022

This week, three leading national health care associations issued a joint statement calling attention to the nation’s blood supply crisis while urging Americans to donate blood.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of community drives that have significantly diminished the nation’s overall blood supply.

More donations are needed to ensure our caregivers can continue to perform scheduled procedures, treat trauma injuries, and deliver care to patients who require transfusions, the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and American Nurses Association said in a statement released Thursday.

“We face a blood supply crisis the American Red Cross calls its worst blood shortage in over a decade,” the three associations said in the statem​ent. “The severity and duration of this shortage could significantly jeopardize the ability of health care providers to meet the many urgent needs of our patients and communities.”

The statement follows an announcement this month from the Red Cross that the nation was facing its first-ever national blood crisis amid a shortage of donors due to the pandemic.

Here’s what you should know about blood donations:

  • All contributions welcome:  All types are needed now, especially types O-positive and O-negative, as well as platelet donations, to help reverse this national blood crisis
  • Staffing shortages:  Potential donors should not to be discouraged if they are unable to get an immediate appointment due to staffing shortages or other concerns. Continue to evaluate opportunities in your community
  • Make it a habit:  Donating regularly over time helps bolster the nation’s blood supply now and into the future. More than 16 million units of blood and blood products are transfused annually with more than 45,000 units needed daily

“As we add our voices to others asking people to donate, we hope that many available appointment slots will fill,” the associations said. “However, we urge potential donors not to be discouraged if they are unable to get an appointment immediately, as this does not mean their donation is not needed.”

In Pennsylvania, most people can donate blood up to six times a year, if they are:

  • In good health and feeling well
  • At least 16 years old
  • Weigh a minimum of 120 pounds.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospital community joins this national effort to raise awareness about the importance of blood donation to support our patients and our communities.