The American Red Cross says winter is always a hard time for donations, but with the coronavirus pandemic added to the mix, things get complicated.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — January is National Blood Donor Awareness Month and the need for donations as 2021 begins is big.
The American Red Cross says winter is always a hard time to get people to give blood, but with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic added to the mix, things get even more complicated.
“What we are experiencing as a result of the pandemic is a shortage of convalescent plasma donations which are needed to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients,” said Tiffany Taylor, a spokesperson with the American Red Cross.
The Kentucky Blood Center says it also recognizes the need. In the fall, the organization said it usually collects around 5,000 units of blood across high schools in the state. So far, they’ve only collected about 65 units.
Both organizations want to stress that anyone can donate – not just people who have had COVID-19.
“You may not have had a COVID-19 diagnosis, but you might’ve been exposed to someone who had it and built up antibodies in your blood system,” said Mandy Brajuha with the Kentucky Blood Center.
Brajuha said that when you donate blood, they can check to see if you have antibodies and if you have enough to help someone battling the virus.
While we’re nearing the middle of January, the extended need for blood donations is only beginning.
“We want people to know the need for blood is not going to cease,” Brajuha said. “While we understand and have been accommodating and understanding with remote businesses, we want to be there when they’re comfortable having us back, so we try to keep blood donations at the forefront of people’s minds.”
If that isn’t enough incentive, there may be an extra offer for NFL fans. Everyone who donates blood during the month of January through the Red Cross will be entered to win two tickets and a travel package to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles in 2022.
To find a blood donation clinic near you and to learn more about the process, visit the American Red Cross or Kentucky Blood Center websites.
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