There’s a national blood shortage. This is what you can do to help.

There’s a national blood shortage. This is what you can do to help.

One unexpected side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is an urgent shortage of blood donations nationwide, a problem recently described as “severe.”

Giving has declined across the country since the pandemic began, at a time when use is up as much as 10%. Blood donation leader Versiti reports its donations are down 40%

“Blood donation significantly impacts our patient care, including surgeries, cancer treatments and traumatic injuries,” said Advocate Aurora Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Stuck. “That’s why we’re encouraging both our team members and members of the public to donate blood now—and regularly going forward.”

The summer season often brings an increased need for people to give blood.

For one thing, schools are closed, so high school blood drives that often can help the supply aren’t happening. And for another, summer can bring a lot of accidents that require blood transfusions.

Blood suppliers have taken additional precautions due to the pandemic, like spacing out appointments and requiring masks.

So what can you do? Versiti has blood donation sites throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. To give, you can go to www.versiti.org, click on “ways to give” and select the state where you live to find Versiti locations and local community drives near you.

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Comments

5 Comments

  1. Jeremiah Stevens June 21, 2021 at 10:51 am · Reply

    I appreciate the Red Cross and other blood collection organizations continue to push the FDA to stop discriminating against sexually active gay men. It is a shame that we are so slow to progress on this issue.

  2. Gloria Picchetti June 21, 2021 at 12:02 pm · Reply

    If the Red Cross wants blood donations they need to improve their website. You can’t sign in if you had an old username & password. They have no provision how to reset it. And they do not list a phone number or have a Contact Us option on their site. You have to have an appointment. So if they need something maybe they need to review why it’s not getting done.

  3. Thank you! I’ve been wanting to donate blood but sites are rarely doing that on the weekend. But the website you provided gave me one on 7/10/21. I’m scheduled!

  4. I use to donate on a regular basis but stopped once I was diagnosed with diabetes. Since I take medication for diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol, does this disqualify me from donating blood?

  5. Toni Soward-Gatford June 26, 2021 at 10:20 am · Reply

    To Jim R.
    I”m not sure about Illinois, but in Wisconsin Versiti is the new name for what was formerly known as The Blood Center of Wisconsin. There is a list of drugs that would prevent someone from donating, which may or may not disqualify you as a potential donor. You can use the link provided in the article, http://www.versiti.org for more information.
    On a personal note, thanks to the latest upgrade to their computer system I learned that my total donations so far equal 11 gallons. In addition to that, I learned that my very common blood type also has a particular characteristic that i can’t remember the name of. It’s found in about 4% of the population, and it allows my blood to be used in transfusions for patients with Sickle Cell Disease.
    I’m very humbled to be able to offer the gift of my blood to those in need.

About the Author

Mike Riopell
Mike Riopell

Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.