The American Red Cross, which provides about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, is experiencing its worst blood shortage in over a decade and has warned that some hospitals may have to delay surgeries and other medical procedures if the situation worsens.
Type O negative, the “so-called universal blood type,” is especially needed, but hospitals and blood donation centers are urging everyone, regardless of blood type, to consider making an appointment to give blood.
Blood supplies are often low during this time of year, with many regular donors out of town for the holidays or contending with jam-packed schedules. This year, the of fear of going out because of COVID-19 has contributed to the shortage.
Yet hospitals rely on blood supplies for a wide range of medical therapies, so donations are vital. There is no substitute for blood.
“There are a whole host of patients that need blood transfusions in order to survive,” UC Davis Health Center director of transfusion medicine Dr. Sarah Barnhard told ABC 10 News. “They would include everyone from the oncology wards to patients who deliver babies and then have bleeding afterward. Even tiny babies in the intensive care unit oftentimes need to have blood transfusions in order to save their life."
Donor safety is paramount
If you want to help, donating is simple: Book an appointment at your nearest American Red Cross donation center or contact one of the University of California Health hospitals to donate.
Once you arrive for your appointment, the process takes about an hour, just 10 minutes of which is the actual donation. The rest of the time is spent filling out forms, providing a health history, and recovering with juice and a cookie.
Protecting donor health, and that of the wider community, remains paramount. University of California Health continues to follow the California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA guidelines to limit the risk of COVID-19. Masking and appropriate distancing are required of patients, visitors, contractors, faculty and co-workers at all University of California locations.
You can learn more about Red Cross COVID safety protocols and donating after vaccination here.
Make an appointment to donate
American Red Cross
Blood Donation Requirements
UC Davis Health and UC San Diego Health
Enter UC Davis or UC San Diego in the “Find a Blood Drive” field in the upper right corner of https://www.redcrossblood.org/ to find convenient locations and make an appointment.
Make an appointment
Ackerman Student Union Donor Center
Westwood Village Donor Center
Vitalant or American Red Cross