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Nation-wide blood shortage causes push for donors during National Blood Donor Month

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 6:20 PM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - January is National Blood Donors Month, but around the country blood donations are in short supply.

“The blood supply is in a shortage situation and that’s a very dangerous scenario for patients in the hospital who need those life-saving units,” said Vitalant Communications Manager Tori Robbins.

Around the holiday season, fewer people tend to donate blood. This holiday season, the donation slump happened a little later. According to Robbins, as of Jan. 10, Vitalant has less than a two-day supply of certain blood types.

Cooler weather, natural disasters, and the pandemic have created a higher need for donations, but have also made it more difficult for people to donate.

Vitalant has two permanent donation sites, one in Cheyenne and the other in Casper. They also have multiple mobile blood drives around Wyoming so people can donate without making a trip to a permanent site.

Vitalant supplies the majority of the blood donations for hospitals in Wyoming. In shortages, if Wyoming hospitals have enough blood, they will help by shipping around the country to states that have low supplies.

Donating blood takes about an hour, which includes questions and a short physical before and a fifteen-minute observation period after. Depending on the type of donation and the amount, that time may be higher.

Robbins encourages people to try to donate, even if they have been turned away before. One of the primary reasons for not being able to donate is being sick at the time of donation. Otherwise, the requirements for donating continue to change.

“So the biggest thing that I always say is if you think you can’t donate blood, or even if you’ve been told you can’t donate blood in the past, please check it again. So many things change on a regular basis, and then you threw a pandemic in there and many, many things changed in that time,” said Robbins.

To sign up to be a blood donor visit the Vitalant website. If you have questions about donating blood call 877-25-VITAL.

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