Donors needed to help with blood platelet shortage

Photo by on Unsplash
Photo by on Unsplash
Photo by on Unsplash

SPOKANE, Wash.– There is a critical blood platelet shortage and Vitalant is calling on all local eligible donors to head to a donation center.

Type O, the most transfused blood type, has plummeted to under a two-day supply — the lowest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic. Blood donations are essential in helping those in need of emergency transfusions.

Vitalent serves and supplies blood to those in need nationwide. The non-profit distributes blood to around 900 hospitals with 35 of them in the Spokane and Northwest region. The organization says blood donations are going out faster than volunteer donations are coming in.

“Compared to the beginning of the pandemic, patient needs are stronger than we expected,” said Cliff Newmark, Vitalant senior vice president.

The provider is also seeing a critical shortage of blood platelet donations. Platelets allow blood to clot, and must be transfused within a week of donation. Around 50 percent of platelet donations go to cancer patients undergoing treatment.

“This low inventory is especially concerning as traditionally, Vitalant sees robust collections and good inventory in October. With the holidays arriving soon along with expected blood collection challenges, it is critical for people to donate now. Blood donors can give patients and their families opportunities to create memories – together,”said Jennifer Hawkins, the company’s regional Director.

Only three out of 100 people donate blood even though most are eligible to contribute. Blood transfusions occur every two seconds, making demand larger than the supply. No waiting period is required after receiving a flu shot or the COVID-19 vaccine.

Donations save lives every day. To donate blood visit the Vitalant website, or call 877-25-VITAL.