Donors needed amid blood supply emergency

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The largest nonprofit blood services provider in the U.S. says there is an ongoing blood emergency and they need new donors to combat that.

Vitalant says the nationwide blood supply has recently dipped to its lowest level in a year. Platelets and plasma are also needed in New Mexico, like the rest of the country. However, it’s a challenge to get people to donate but it’s important.

“As for the decline we really don’t know, we can only speculate. One is that since COVID, businesses have closed or people are working from home or working remotely. That impacts our mobile blood drives. Without the mobile blood drives, we really rely on our fixed sites and our fixed sites can get overwhelming with people coming in to donate,” said Evelyn Rosado, the communications manager for Vitalant.

Every day in the U.S., around 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed. The American Red Cross says it’s needed for transfusions during surgeries and for those with chronic illnesses and traumatic injuries.

However, during the holidays and even at the beginning of the year, donations tend to drop. Winter weather and recent illnesses, like flu and COVID, have postponed donations this year across the country.

“It is the blood on the shelves that saves lives so, once that starts to run out, then that means that the hospitals have to start making those big decisions as to whether to put all of those surgeries that they had planned for months on-end on the back burner to save the blood for emergency supply,” Rosado said.

Donating blood can also help those going through cancer treatments. For the last 15 years, that has personally motivated one person to donate platelets and blood.

“I have two sisters who have undergone cancer treatments so I really appreciate the idea of helping another cancer patient,” Lorraine said. “If you have it and you can give it, then you should, to help your neighbors and help your community.”

Donors of all types are needed, especially Type-O blood and platelet donors. If you would like to donate, click here to learn more.