Donors needed; Blood supplies dangerously low

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Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, the blood supply in the U.S. is dangerously low and the American Red Cross is urging people donate. 

“This is serious,” a statement says at the top of the American Red Cross website. “The Red Cross is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer patients from major surgery, including organ transplants. Your donation is desperately needed this season. Please schedule an appointment to give now.” 

Tammy McCune, Account Manager for the American Red Cross in the McPherson area says there are several factors that have led to the short supply of blood. COVID is still playing a part, but the time of year is also a factor. During the holiday season, it is common to see less donations than at other times of the year. Another factor is misinformation. 

“Some people still aren’t educated on the donation guidelines around COVID and flu vaccines,” McCune said. If you have had the flu or COVID vaccine, you can still donate.” 

McCune says people that have received any of the COVID vaccines, including the booster, are eligible to donate blood. Additionally, donations are welcomed from those who are not vaccinated. 

“There is no deferment after getting the vaccine as long as they are symptom free and feeling good the day of their donation,” McCune said. 

The American Red Cross has taken many steps to keep safety a top priority. Each donation location and blood center always follows the highest standards to ensure safety of staff, volunteers, donors and those receiving the blood donation. McCune says many extra precautions are in place to ensure the safety of all. 

“Face masks and social distancing are practiced,” McCune said. “We have hand sanitizer located throughout the donation process, from registration to health history, to the canteen. And we practice enhanced disinfecting of surfaces.” 

With all of these efforts in place, McCune is hopeful donations will increase. 

“We do have an urgent need,” McCune said. “It just seems to have gotten worse as opposed to better. Unfortunately, a bag of blood is not something we can manufacture and people are in need of blood every day. People across Kansas desperately need blood.” 

In addition to needing donors, additional blood drives would also be beneficial. McCune says that any individual, business or group interested in hosting or sponsoring a blood drive can contact her at 316-253-0553. She says there are a number of ways the Red Cross can help make blood drives successful. Those may include capitalizing on rivalries, having a competition or even helping with scheduling to ensure employees have time to donate. 

“There are several ways we can help make it successful and fun,” McCune said. 

There are several blood drives scheduled in McPherson County in the coming weeks. To schedule an appointment to donate blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or use the Red Cross App on your smart phone. 

Upcoming Area Blood Drives: 

 

McPherson 

 

Jan. 17 12 to 6 & 18, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 

St. Joseph Catholic Church

520 E. Northview

 

Jan. 27, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 

Central Christian College

1200 S. Maple

 

Feb. 2, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 

McPherson High School

801 E. First

Contact the McPherson High School

 

Galva

 

Jan. 15, 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

Sunflower School

2192 Eisenhower 

 

Moundridge

 

Jan. 26, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 

MKC Learning Center

221 W. Hirschler St. 

Contact Taryn Lee at the Co-op 

 

Inman

Feb. 11, from 12-6 p.m. 

St. Peters United Church of Christ

111 Pine 

 

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, visit www.redcrossblood.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS or use the Red Cross App on your smart phone.