LOS ANGELES (Oct. 26, 2021) — With Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, the American Red Cross urges donors to continue to make and keep appointments now and in the weeks ahead to help overcome the ongoing emergency blood and platelet shortage that has significantly impacted the nation’s blood supply. In fact, the current blood supply is the lowest the Red Cross has seen this time of year in more than a decade.
Since declaring an emergency need for donors last month, thousands of people have come to Red Cross blood drives across the country to roll up a sleeve and help patients who are counting on lifesaving transfusions. The Red Cross is incredibly grateful for the kindness and generosity of these blood and platelet donors, but hospital demand remains strong. At least 10,000 more donations are needed each week in the coming weeks to meet patient needs – ahead of the upcoming holiday season, which always presents seasonal challenges to blood collection.
Donors are urged to schedule an appointment now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
In honor of the new series, I Know What You Did Last Summer, those who come to give Nov. 1-12, 2021, will automatically be entered to win a trip for two to Hawaii, courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.* The trip will transport you to where the series was filmed and includes round-trip airfare for two, hotel accommodations for nine nights, meals, $1,000 gift card for expenses and on-trip transportation with tour stops from Honolulu to Maui. Plus, those who come to donate Nov. 1-23 will receive a $10 Amazon.com Gift Card* by email, thanks to Amazon.**
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.
Save time during donation
Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Health insights for donors
At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease who require trait-negative blood. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.
Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org.