Beaumont Health put out a call Monday for blood donations, saying the health system faces a severe shortage that “could have significant impact on patient care, including surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic medical conditions and traumatic injuries.”
The coronavirus pandemic led to a dramatic decline in blood donations. Now that public health restrictions are easing up and COVID-19 case counts are falling, people are out more in the community.
That’s driving an increase in trauma cases and the demand for blood now, leaders for the eight-hospital health system said Monday in announcing efforts to work with blood suppliers to stabilize and increase the supply.
“The effort is expected to take several weeks,” said Carolyn Wilson, Beaumont’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, who also is a registered nurse. “We are asking our Beaumont health care heroes to donate their own blood to help our communities. And, we’re also asking the public to support this effort by donating their own blood, too.”
The blood shortage isn’t impacting only Beaumont or southeastern Michigan; it’s a problem nationwide.
The American Red Cross, AABB and America’s Blood Centers issued a joint statement earlier this year, saying summer is a “historically challenging time of year for blood collections” and noting that some blood centers nationally have reported their lowest donor turnout in more than a year.
“These trends are concerning, as both patients and blood centers depend on the altruism of donors to ensure that blood is available for life-saving treatments,” said the statement.
“With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ongoing nationwide, the blood community reminds individuals that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration blood donation eligibility criteria does not require a deferral for individuals who have received a vaccine authorized in the U.S., including those manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.
“Vaccinated individuals are encouraged to bring their vaccination card to the blood collection site at the time of donation and will be asked which type of vaccine they received. Individuals who do not know which manufacturer produced the vaccine they received, or who received a vaccine outside of the U.S., may be asked to wait two weeks before giving blood.”
Beaumont is hosting blood drives throughout the month of June with Versiti, the hospital system’s exclusive provider of blood products.
The donation process usually takes one hour, including registration, a brief medical screening and blood collection. Donors must show a photo ID such as a driver’s license. Versiti takes extra precautions to thoroughly disinfect areas before, during and after each donation. Masks are required throughout the donation process.
Versiti requires donors to wait 48 hours to donate blood after receiving the first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The following is a list of upcoming blood drives:
Appointments can be also be made through Versiti by calling 866-642-5663. Some walk-ins will be welcome, schedule permitting. For details, go to versiti.org.
In addition, appointments to donate blood can be made through America’s Blood Centers at americasblood.org or by calling 202-393-5725.
The American Red Cross also has blood donation appointments available at redcrossblood.org or by calling 800-733-2767.
Contact Kristen Shamus: [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.