Dr. Ross Herron, the chief medical officer of the Red Cross, has gone on the record to say that the Red Cross is a charity and not a health care setting, meaning it is not subject to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. He said in an interview that blood drives aren’t locations for treating patients, so his staff doesn’t need to get vaccinated.
The Oregon Health Authority does not agree with Herron’s statement.
In a written statement given to OPB about the Red Cross, the OHA said that anyone drawing blood, “even if it is for blood donation, falls within the definition of a healthcare provider…because they are having direct contact with a patient — the blood donor.”
Whether or not the Red Cross needs to follow the mandate is still up for debate.
Nonprofit leaders at the organization are looking for clarification. Herron also said that the Red Cross does plan on following President Biden’s order which requires that companies with more than 100 employees either have regular testing or get vaccinated.
Blood donations have been down during the Pandemic, leading to significant shortages. There are people willing to give blood, like retired Dr. Greg Gottlieb from Hood River, who was concerned about the COVID-19 precautions being taken by the Red Cross. Speaking to OPB, he said that he called to voice those concerns, asking if their staff were vaccinated, the Red Cross offered to take him off of their call list.