LUBBOCK, Texas – This week the American Red Cross declared a national blood shortage crisis, calling it the worst then we’ve seen in a decade. According to the organization, the pandemic has led to dwindling donations, college and high school blood drive cancellations. Student donations back in 2019 accounted for 25 percent nationwide.
Brandon Baker a manager at Vitalant blood donation said there has been a steady decline in donations over the course of the pandemic, despite the demand remaining high.
“Right now, all blood types are in high demand,” Baker said.” Whether it be O negative, O positive, which are the really high demand generally, but right now, all blood types A positive positive AB. They’re all needed.”
Baker said the pandemic exacerbated the need for donations. Their regular donors aren’t coming in as often, and new donors are scarce.
“There is a critical need for all blood types and all blood donors here in the West Texas area. Generally, we like to have at least a four-day supply on hand. And right now, we have about a two-day supply on hand,” Baker said.
Texas Tech student Isaiah George said he went without donating. After returning to Lubbock, TX for classes, George decided to set a little time aside for a good cause.
“It’s really just to help the community out,” George said. “I know there’s a blood shortage in general, and so being a healthy person … and having lots of blood is just being able to help people who need it. That’s really why I do it.”
His generosity inspired a little bravery of my own to roll up my sleeves and climb in the chair. In less than 15 minutes after taking a seat, the bag was full, and I was free to go. Baker said a few minutes can save a life.
“It’s actually a really quick and easy process to donate blood,” Baker said. “There’s not much to it at all. The donation itself is generally only about 8 to 10 minutes. And then we have you stick around afterward to make sure you’re feeling well and healthy. You should plan on probably 45 minutes from when you walk in the door to when you walk out the door, but we try to make it as easy as possible.”
For more information about how and where to donate click here.