Vitalant blood supply drops to levels not seen since start of pandemic

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Vitalant to host a blood drive at WVLA on Jan. 14

FILE – In this Thursday, March 26, 2020 file photo, vials of blood for testing and a donated bag of blood will be sent for testing and use at an American Red Cross blood drive at the Carbondale YMCA in Carbondale, Pa. On Thursday, April 2, 2020, the U.S. government eased restrictions on blood donations from gay men and other key groups because of a drop in the nation’s blood supply triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. (Jake Danna Stevens/The Times-Tribune via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Vitalant, a nonprofit blood provider, asks all eligible donors to make an appointment now after reporting a critical blood and platelet shortage.

The nonprofit said Type O blood, the most transfused bloody type, is now at its lowest supply level since the start of the pandemic.

“Compared to the beginning of the pandemic, patient needs are stronger than we expected,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant senior vice president. “We’re seeking about 1,000 additional volunteer donors to make and keep an appointment each week for the foreseeable future to ensure Vitalant can help trauma victims, cancer patients and critical surgeries.”

Vitalant will host a blood drive in the parking lot of WVLA/WGMB from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 10000 Perkins Rd. on Friday.

Four lucky donors will win a $5,000 prepaid gift card, which will be redeemable by email, for donating with Vitalant. Winners will be selected and notified by email on Feb. 3.

Vitalant is also experiencing a critical shortage of platelet donations. Platelets are tiny cells that help blood clot. They must be transfused within about a week of donation and about 50% of platelets are given to cancer patients undergoing treatment. 

All donors are asked to wear a protective face covering during their donation process. Temperatures will be checked before entering the bloodmobile. Any donor with a temperature above 99.6 will not be permitted to enter.

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