Severe blood shortage: Donors needed now to address delays in  patient care 

New effects of pandemic leading to significant drop in nation’s blood supply 

FAIRFAX, VA (June 15, 2021) — The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood  shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise – and  deplete the nation’s blood inventory. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those  giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give as soon as possible to  prevent further impact to patients. 

Right now, hospitals are responding to an atypically high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. In comparison to 2019, the Red  Cross has seen demand from trauma centers climb by 10% in 2021 − more than five times the  growth of other facilities that provide blood transfusions. 

“When seconds count in emergency trauma situations, it’s the blood already on the shelves that  can make the difference in lifesaving care,” said Dr. Lokhandwala, Regional Medical Director,  American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region. “As many people  begin to enjoy travel and time with loved ones again this summer, patients are relying on the  generosity of donors to help ensure they have access to the treatment they need. Please  consider blood donation as a summer activity that can help save lives.” 

Patients need the help of the American people. Schedule an appointment to give blood  now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo  device. 

In addition to trauma needs, there is a great hospital demand for blood as people who deferred  care during the height of the pandemic present with more advanced disease progression,  requiring increased blood transfusions. Over the last three months, the Red Cross has  distributed about 75,000 more blood products than expected to meet these needs. As a result of  this shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the  blood supply stabilizes. Blood is perishable and cannot be stockpiled, so it must constantly be  replenished by generous blood donors. 

Donors are urged to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now. As a thank-you, those  who come to give now through June 30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email,  courtesy of Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available  at RedCrossBlood.org/Together.)  

In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the  name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation  eligibility.

Final weeks for COVID-19 antibody testing 

As more than a third of Americans have become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Red  Cross is winding down COVID-19 antibody testing for blood, platelet and plasma donations.  

Through June 25, the Red Cross is testing all donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Testing may  show possible exposure to the virus or whether a donor has developed an immune response to  vaccination. The conclusion of Red Cross antibody testing represents a new, hopeful phase as the nation continues to journey out of this pandemic.   

World Sickle Cell Day: June 19 

June 19 is World Sickle Cell Day, an important day for the more than 100,000 individuals with  sickle cell disease in the U.S. Most people with this disease are of African descent and will  require regular blood transfusions to help manage their disease. Some individuals with sickle  cell disease may require as many as 100 units of blood per year. 

The Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African  American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with  an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly  to help patients with sickle cell disease. Since the best blood match for a patient receiving  ongoing transfusions comes from donors of the same genetic background, the Red Cross  encourages people of all ethnicities to give blood and help increase the number of diverse  donors so we can find the best match for all patients. 

Donors can expect to receive antibody test and sickle cell trait screening results, if  applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online  donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.   

Upcoming blood donation opportunities June 15-30 

District of Columbia 

6/15/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/16/2021: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Eaton Hotel, 1201 K St. NW 

6/16/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/17/2021: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., YMCA Anthony Bowen, 1325 W St NW, 

6/17/2021: 10:45 a.m. – 6 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/18/2021: 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/18/2021: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Eaton Hotel, 1201 K St. NW 

6/19/2021: 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/20/2021: 7:45 a.m. – 3 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/21/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/22/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/23/2021: 12:45 p.m. – 8 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/24/2021: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., American Red Cross – Hall of Service, 1730 E Street NW 6/24/2021: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., National United Methodist Church, 3401 Nebraska Ave NW 6/24/2021: 10:45 a.m. – 6 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/25/2021: 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Dr. Charles Drew Blood Donation Center, 1730 E Street NW 6/25/2021: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., American Red Cross – Hall of Service, 1730 E Street NW 6/25/2021: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Eaton Hotel, 1201 K St. NW