Blood Supplies Are Tapped Out

Supplies of human blood are dangerously low, according to all suppliers — commercial and not-for-profit alike. Donations are down, while the need is greater than ever, possibly due to the same cause: the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Most sources of blood in the Pacific Northwest are at 25% of the capacity they would like, and there is no hope of more coming in from elsewhere, since it is a nationwide problem.  

Blood is needed not just for transfusions, but also for blood components — plasma, platelets, etc., and for research and training.  

KLCC recently interviewed Vicki Finson, Vice President for Blood Services at Bloodworks NW, a commercial blood collection agency. “It’s lasting for an extended period of time,” Finson said. “We are actually reviewing every order from our hospitals and the entire community of healthcare is collaborating together to ensure that the blood is used the most effectively that we can.”  

Finson and other blood professionals emphasized that blood donation is safe, and can be done quickly, especially if a donor makes an appointment. Also worth noting is that it is safe for both the donor and the recipient to donate blood immediately after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.  

Meanwhile, research continues — although still without complete success — toward the development of an artificial substitute which can genuinely replace donor blood. Until then, there will be no replacements for blood donations  

To schedule a donation via the Red Cross in Corvallis, call 800-RED-CROSS or go to RedCrossBlood.org  

By: John M. Burt