LUBBOCK, Texas — Vitalant recently announced the blood supply for about 900 hospitals nationwide had dropped to its lowest level in a year.

According to a press release from Vitalant, the nonprofit blood services provider triggered a blood emergency.

The appeal for donations comes during National Blood Donation Month which is marked in January.

“New donors and those who haven’t donated recently are critical to helping end this shortage. Patient needs continue but societal shifts have kept blood donations from rebounding to pre-pandemic levels,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant senior vice president in the press release. “Starting the new year by scheduling a blood donation can make an incredible impact in your community.”

Vitalant said business-hosted blood drives are down were down 50% in 2022. The number of people donating with Vitalant has dropped about 20% in the last three years as well.

Eligible donors of all blood types, especially type O, are needed now to schedule an appointment and donate in the days and weeks ahead to prevent delays for patients who need transfusions, Vitalant said.

The need is most acute for type O blood and platelets. Type O-positive is the most transfused blood type while O-negative can help patients of any blood type. Donated platelets, which often help cancer patients, must be used within a week.

For more information about hosting a blood drive or to make an appointment to donate blood, you can visit vitalant.org, download and use the Vitalant app or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).

Vitalant said those who come to give blood through January 20 will be automatically entered to win tickets, travel and more in the Big Trip to the Big Game Giveaway.