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Why Blood, Platelet, and Plasma Donors Are Essential

Dr. Dayand Borge

Divisional Chief Medical Officer, American Red Cross

People are beginning to let out a sigh of relief after more than a year of hardship. With this new positive shift, people are enjoying some of their favorite pastime activities. 

With these new changes, there is one thing that has remained consistent — the need for lifesaving blood. 

As many communities begin to open up, we ask that people remember to make it a priority to donate blood. We are seeing a decrease in donors, which is concerning because this downturn comes at a time of strong demand for blood products by hospitals as they work to reschedule elective surgeries in parts of the country, and resume clinical care postponed by the pandemic.

Donations matter

Blood, platelet, and plasma donations remain essential to the health of our communities. For many patients in hospitals awaiting surgeries and transplants, battling cancer, or recovering from traumatic accidents, the need for blood continues. Donors are the only source of blood and are vital to ensuring lifesaving blood products are readily available to help patients whenever and wherever they are needed. 

With just an hour of your time, you could make a difference to a parent who needs heart surgery, a new mother who suffers complications while giving birth, a best friend undergoing an organ transplant, a neighbor battling cancer, or a child dealing with sickle cell disease. 

It’s important to note that, in most cases, there is no wait time to donate after you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, as long as you know the name of the manufacturer. If you don’t know the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine, you are asked to wait two weeks to donate, as a precaution. 

From the earliest days of the pandemic, the phrase “We’re all in this together” inspired ordinary people to do extraordinary things to take care of one another in a tough time. With only 3 percent of Americans donating blood yearly, that phrase is still relevant today. By giving blood, platelets, or plasma, or by hosting a blood drive, you can show that we are still all in this together.

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