The number of new blood donors is down 12% year over year, according to nonprofit Vitalant, which is urging Valley residents to donate soon to help reverse recent declines.
There is a critical need for donors with the most transfused blood type, O, which has recently dipped to about half of the desired four-day supply, and platelet donors, whose donations must be used within a week of donation, according to Vitalant officials.
“Every time you donate you help ensure a patient’s lifesaving treatment doesn’t have to be put on hold,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Vitalant chief medical and scientific officer.
“When patient needs consistently outpace donors scheduling appointments, chances are higher a leukemia patient won’t be able to get their regular transfusion, or a transplant recipient will have their surgery delayed.”
Hundreds of appointments over the next few weeks remain unfilled across Arizona, according to the organization.
In April and May, Vitalant collected about 13,000 fewer blood donations compared to the year prior. If AAA Memorial Day travel forecasts were any indication, rebounding to 92 percent of pre-pandemic levels, as schools let out for the summer, the number of available donors could drop even lower in the coming weeks.
“When there’s a high-profile emergency, people will drop what they’re doing to donate,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant senior vice president. “But there are many reasons patients need transfusions – which don’t grab news headlines.”
Donors of all blood types are needed. Visit vitalant.org, download and use the Vitalant app or call 877-258-4825)to secure a donation spot.
In addition to helping patients, new blood donors can learn their preliminary blood type during their first visit. Other added benefits of donating blood are a mini-physical and full panel of tests each donor receives, according to Vitalant.
The mini-physical check of pulse, blood pressure, hemoglobin and cholesterol can be tracked with each visit in the donor’s secure and confidential online account, the organization stated in a release.
Daily blood drive locations provided by Vitalant:
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