Red Cross facing emergency blood and platelet shortage

Supplies drop to lowest post- summer levels since 2015.

The American Red Cross is experiencing an emergency blood and platelet shortage and must collect 10,000 additional blood products each week over the next month for the blood supply to recover and meet hospital and patient needs. Donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to give now and in the weeks ahead to overcome this current shortage.

Blood donor turnout has reached the lowest levels of the year as many delayed giving amid a return to the workplace and in-person learning, as well as a recent surge in COVID-19 cases across the country due to the delta variant. As cases spiked in August, blood donor participation decreased about 10 percent , but blood product distributions to hospitals have remained strong, significantly outpacing blood donations in recent weeks.

The national Red Cross blood inventory is the lowest it’s been at this time of year since 2015, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks. The supply of types O positive and O negative blood, the most needed blood types by hospitals, dropped to less than a half-day supply at times over the last month − well below the ideal five-day supply.

“Fall is typically a time when the blood supply rebounds as donors are more available to give than during the busy summer months, but this year has presented a unique and serious challenge,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the Red Cross. “While it’s clear the pandemic continues to weigh heavily on our minds, the Red Cross asks the public to remember donating blood and platelets is essential to the many patients that rely on lifesaving transfusions every day.”

People across the country depend on the generosity of blood donors. Make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

Partnerships within your Community

Williamstown, N.J. Masonic Lodge #166 will host a community blood drive with the American Red Cross on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at 37 Howard Drive, Williamstown, N.J. 08094.

For more information or to make an appointment to donate, call (800)733-2767 or sign up online at: redcrossblood.org with sponsor code “Williamstown Masonic Lodge”.

“Williamstown Lodge #166 is committed to strengthening our community and helping meet hospital and patient needs through blood donations,” said blood drive program leader Ralph Weed, a Lodge member and former EMT. “This blood drive is our way of providing members of our community the opportunity to help save lives.” 

Blood is a perishable product that can only come from volunteer blood donors. With someone in the U.S. needing blood every two seconds, blood products must be constantly replenished, according to the Red Cross. “We urge community members to donate blood and help ensure that patients in local hospitals have a supply of blood ready and waiting before an emergency occurs. There’s no better feeling than knowing that your blood donation may give someone a second chance at life.”

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Southern New Jersey (Oct. 22 through Nov. 30)

American Red Cross Blood Donation Center – Southern New Jersey 5425 Marlton Pike, Pennsauken Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 11:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. (whole blood and platelet pheresis) Thursday: 10:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (whole blood and platelet pheresis) Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 7:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (whole blood and platelet pheresis).