Amid Omicron surge, Red Cross declares first-ever blood crisis

Jan. 12, 2022

The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis — its worst blood shortage in over a decade, the organization announced in a news release.

“While some types of medical care can wait, others can’t,” said Pampee Young, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the Red Cross. “Hospitals are still seeing accident victims, cancer patients, those with blood disorders like sickle cell disease, and individuals who are seriously ill who all need blood transfusions to live even as Omicron cases surge across the country. We’re doing everything we can to increase blood donations to ensure every patient can receive medical treatments without delay, but we cannot do it without more donors.”

The Red Cross said it has experienced a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to confront ongoing blood-drive cancellations and staffing limitations. The Red Cross also said it has experienced low donor turnout ever since the Delta variant began spreading in August, and that trend continues as the Omicron variant takes over.

As a result of these challenges, the Red Cross said it has had to limit blood distributions to hospitals in recent weeks. In fact, on certain days, some hospitals may not receive as much as one-quarter of the blood products requested.

“All types are needed now, especially types O positive and O negative, as well as platelet donations, to help reverse this national blood crisis. If there is not an immediate opportunity available to donate, donors are asked to make an appointment in the days and weeks ahead to ensure the Red Cross can replenish and maintain a sufficient blood supply,” the Red Cross said.

Vist the Red Cross for more news

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