Did you know that we are experiencing the worst blood donation shortage in a decade? That’s according to the American Red Cross, which attributes this shortage to the ongoing pandemic. Since March 2020, overall blood donations have seen a decline of 10 percent. The Red Cross has also seen a 62 percent drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic. Student donors made up 25 percent of donors in 2019, but have been just 10 percent during the pandemic, according to the Red Cross.
While all blood is in short supply, the types especially needed include Type O Positive, Type O Negative, and platelets, as well as Type B.
To address this shortage, New Jersey Blood Services will be conducting blood drives at two Sussex County locations in June: at Saint Kateri Parish (427 Stanhope Road, Sparta) on June 18, from 7:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and at the Sussex Christian Reformed Church (49 Unionville Ave, Sussex) on June 28, from 1 to 7 p.m.
Eligible donors must be at least 16 years old (with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds, in good health, and meet all state and federal blood donor criteria. A full list of criteria can be found at nybc.org/donate-blood/become-donor/can-i-donate-blood.
New Jersey Blood Services is a division of the New York Blood Center. The blood services center noted that patients depend on constant supplies, adding that blood supplies have a short shelf life of roughly five to 42 days.
“This time of the year always tends to be difficult for the blood supply, with school spring breaks and increased travel making blood donations less of a priority. These factors are now coinciding with increasing COVID cases and a potential fifth wave of the pandemic,” said Andrea Cefarelli, senior executive director at New York Blood Center. “One blood donation has the ability to save up to three lives.”
To donate blood or for information on how to organize a blood drive in your neighborhood, call 1-800-933-2566 or visit nybloodcenter.org.