National blood shortage prompts plea for donors

How a shortage of blood donations can impact the city.
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 6:35 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Vitalant is once again asking for your help filling their blood donation storage.

Vitalant tries to keep four days’ worth of blood supply on hand, but recently, only three days’ worth of blood has been collected. Type O blood is even more scarce, as Vitalant only has about one day stockpiled. According to Tori Robbins, communications manager for Vitalant, a majority of blood transfusions are planned, but over 90% of the population will need blood at some point in their lifetime, and with less than 3% of the population donating, times are tough for those in need.

”So the reason it’s so important to regularly donate blood is because patients are regularly using it. The majority of blood usage is a planned event, so people who have blood diseases, maybe fighting cancer, things like that, that are regularly using blood and getting it transfused, and some of those will for the rest of their lives,” said Robbins.

Recently, regulations around blood donations have changed, making it more inclusive to a wider range of people.

A whole blood donation can be given every eight weeks, and a double red donation can be done every 16 weeks. Platelet donations have to be used within a week from the time acquired, meaning someone can donate those every other week. Plasma donations can be made monthly.

You do not need to know your blood type to donate, however, if you donate, you will be able to find out your blood type in a short amount of time according to Robbins.

If you have questions on the new guidelines, you can visit Vitalant’s website, or call 877-25-Vital (877-258-4825).