NEW YORK – New York Blood Center (NYBC) announced a blood emergency today, their second in the last 75 days and the fifth of 2022. A blood emergency occurs when there is a significant gap between the amount of blood donations and need from local hospitals. The region’s blood supply is once again at a 1-3 day supply.
Despite new and innovative strategies to encourage the scheduling of more community blood drives, the gap between what our hospitals and patients need and the available blood supply continues to grow. 62% of the general public is able to donate and only about 4% of that population do — this a national crisis that must change for the future health of all New Yorkers and this country.
This isn’t a local problem as blood centers across the nation have been struggling over the last two and a half years. Prior to the pandemic, there was always a surplus of blood in the U.S. so if one region of the country was short, not-for-profit blood centers could help one another. There is no surplus in the U.S. anymore. NYBC hasn’t had the ideal blood supply of 5-7 days in over 30 months. Blood emergencies in the last decade typically happened twice per year around the 4th of July and December holidays.
“It isn’t that folks are not donating blood – our data shows that there is only a small group of loyal blood donors who are representing the entire community and shouldering the burden for all,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Vice President of New York Blood Center. “We need everyone, from Gen Z to Gen X, to step up. Donating blood is a meaningful volunteer opportunity – we encourage people to bring their families, friends and partners to make it even more fun and impactful.”
Youth and first-time donors are critically needed. In 2019, high school and college blood donors accounted for 25% or 50,000 annual blood donations. Blood Centers have in recent years been working to rebuild blood drives with young donors at local high schools and colleges, but that only about half of those events are being hosted as compared to 2019.
Even if you cannot donate, you can help the blood center by spreading the word about the critical national shortage and need for local blood donors; tell your friends, post about it on social media or bring in a first-time blood donor on your next visit.
NYBC hosts blood drives every day in addition to their 19 area donor centers in order to reach donors and meet local hospital needs.
We are taking extra precautions to help prevent the person-to-person spread of COVID-19. As always, people are not eligible to donate if they’re experiencing a cold, sore throat, respiratory infection or flu-like symptoms. Additional information on donor eligibility and COVID-19 precautions is available here.
To make an appointment at a blood drive near you, donors can call 1-800-933-2566 or visit donate.nybc.org. Can’t donate blood? You can still support NYBC’s mission by texting ‘NYBC’ to ‘20222’ to give $25.