For the first time in its history, the American Red Cross has announced what it is calling a national blood crisis, and on Jan. 27 the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and American Nurses Association released a joint statement urging Americans to donate blood.
The shortage is largely the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the closure of many schools and colleges, where many blood drives take place, as well as staffing at blood donation centers.
“We face a blood supply crisis the American Red Cross calls its worst blood shortage in over a decade,” the joint statement notes. “The severity and duration of this shortage could significantly jeopardize the ability of health care providers to meet the many urgent needs of our patients and communities. We urge everyone who can to give blood. Donating blood is safe and easy to do. As we add our voices to others asking people to donate, we hope that many available appointment slots will fill. However, we urge potential donors not to be discouraged if they are unable to get an appointment immediately, as this does not mean their donation is not needed. There will always be a need for blood in health care, and meeting that need will require consistent donations over time to ensure that our blood supply is restored to an acceptable level moving forward.”
Earlier this month, the American Red Cross issued a joint statement with America’s Blood Centers and the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies that noted, “If the nation’s blood supply doesn’t stabilize soon, lifesaving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed.”