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Blood Shortage Prompts Donations

A Red Cross worker helps a woman to donate blood in Chicago, Illinois, the United States, on June 14, 2021. Monday marks the World Blood Donor Day.
Joel Lerner
Xinhua via Getty Images
A Red Cross worker helps a woman donate blood in Chicago on June 14, 2021.

Blood donations generally fluctuate depending on the season. American Red Cross officials say the pandemic has contributed to a severe shortage this summer.

Olivia Giuffria, 17, did her part to help out. She recently gave blood for the first time at the American Red Cross office in Farmington.

“I decided to donate because I turned 17 last year, and I’ve always seen it in my school and how people can donate once they turn 17,” Giuffria said. “So I saw the advertisement on social media and decided to talk to my mom and get her to come with me to donate."

Olivia said she’s more comfortable giving blood now than she would’ve been last year.

“So since the pandemic was in full heat last year, I don’t think I would’ve been comfortable, but I think now since everything is settling down, you know, the mask mandate has [come] up ... and so my mom and I felt comfortable going in and helping out,” she said.

The Red Cross says it has seen a 10% rise in red cell demand at hospitals with trauma centers. Andreina Sosa, a regional communications manager for the Red Cross, says that blood donations are needed more than ever with many people also scheduling surgeries they couldn’t undergo last year.

“Trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries are on the rise, and this is because most of the people right now are getting back to their pre-pandemic activities,” Sosa said. “Donating blood is not top of mind for anyone.”

Sosa says both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can donate.

“As long as you’re feeling well, you can donate, and all we ask you to do is follow the CDC guidelines that are out there. And for the vaccinated people, as long as they know their vaccine manufacturer, they can donate as well,” she said.

Potential donors or blood drive hosts can sign up for appointments or find out more information on the American Red Cross website or its app.

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