Nationwide blood shortage is the worst Red Cross has seen in over a decade

Red Cross encouraging people to donate as soon as possible
Blood shortage in NW Ohio
Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Red Cross says we are in the middle of a blood shortage, and it’s the worst one they’ve seen in a decade. The need right now is dire, and health officials say they are deeply worried about the low blood supply.

Jim McIntyre, the Red Cross’ Northern Ohio Red Cross communications director, says they need to get 10,000 more people each week to donate blood just to fulfill the needs of patients and hospitals across the U.S. McIntyre says that blood donations always slow down around the holidays, which is why this nationwide blood shortage is even more significant.

“We generally try to have a five-day supply of all types of blood on hand. But this fall we have fallen down to less than a half day’s supply of type O blood,” says McIntyre.

To get people to donate the organization is offering incentives, like Amazon gift cards and free socks. The Red Cross also tells you exactly where your blood goes after you donate.

“We want to make sure that people have a concrete idea of where their blood is going and what it’s doing. Not just that they’re spending an hour on a cot having their blood taken and then forget about it. We want people to know how it’s benefiting other people,” says McIntyre.

McIntyre says another reason blood supply is low has to do with the pandemic and the vaccine. He says some people are worried about receiving blood from someone who has had COVID-19 or has had the vaccine. But he says there is nothing to worry about. “It’s safe to donate blood whether you’ve had the COVID vaccine or not, and it’s safe to receive blood from people that have been vaccinated.”

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