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Blood Donors Urgently Needed Amidst 'Perfect Storm'

Mark Smith
Bloodworks NW

Blood donations are down to critical levels, says a regional organization serving Oregon and Washington. 

Administrators with Bloodworks Northwest say they’re experiencing a “perfect storm” of factors that are creating the shortage for all blood types. 

“There’s still lingering confusion over if people are eligible to donate blood after their vaccination,” explained business development representative Mark Smith. “Also, with this great, amazing weather that we’re having, we’re noticing an increase of people canceling their appointments or not showing up.”

Bloodworks Northwest stresses that it’s fine to donate a pint after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  Smith adds that normally at this time of year, they’ll have a four to five-day blood supply, but with cancelations, no-shows, and high demand from hospitals, they’re down to an emergency 24-hour supply so donors are urgently needed.

Credit Nguyen Hiep / Unsplash
A technician preps a blood donor.

In fact, the need for blood is at its most urgent since the pandemic began a year ago. Hospital usage for the last week has been 118 percent above normal.

Smith said due to pandemic restrictions, drop-in appointments can’t be accommodated.

“We do accept same day appointments, so if someone wakes up in the morning and says, “You know what, I’ve got a free hour to, I’d like to donate blood.” We just encourage them to go online and see if there’s an appointmentavailable,” said Smith.

“Much like if you go to a fast food restaurant, where there seems to be no one in the lobby and then all of sudden there’s a long que…we can’t have that happen at the center.   That’s why the appointments are required.”

Smith adds all donors and staff observe pandemic protocols, including face masks. 

Types O and A positive are especially needed. Sign-ups and donation sites– including in Eugene - can be found online at bloodworksnw.org.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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