HAP Blog

How You Can Support Pa.’s Donated Blood Supply

Pandemic strained overall blood and plasma supply across the nation

August 05, 2022

The summer months are an important time to help support the supply of donated blood in Pennsylvania and across the nation.

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new campaign to increase awareness about the importance of blood donation. Earlier this year, the American Red Cross declared the first-ever blood crisis amid the rise of the Omicron variant, and the challenge continues as we enter the second half of 2022.

“A consistent supply of blood and plasma is critical to the health of our nation,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel L. Levine, MD. “There is no replacement for human blood and plasma. We simply need more people to give and to give regularly. We also need donors from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.”

If you’re interested in donating blood, here’s what you need to know:

  • Impact of COVID-19:  The pandemic has increased demand for blood but curtailed or postponed scheduled blood drives, and staffing shortages have made it harder to coordinate donor events.
  • New donors down:  The number of new donors is down about 12 percent, according to Vitalant.
  • A constant need:  Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood or platelets, and a single car accident victim could need as many as 100 units .
  • Who’s eligible: In Pennsylvania, people who are in good health and feeling well, are least 16, and weigh a minimum of 110 pounds can give blood.
  • O-Negative:  The need for O-negative blood is enduring, as this type of blood can be donated to patients with any blood type. Only 7 percent of people in the country have this blood type, the American Red Cross estimates.

A coalition of Pennsylvania hospitals is raising awareness about the blood shortage and the need to bolster the blood supply. Learn more about the blood donation centers in your region:

Additional information about donating blood in Pennsylvania is available online.

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