The COVID-19 pandemic changed many things in life: relationships, work, and priorities. Unfortunately, how people spend their time changed as well and blood donation fell off many priority lists.
This has led to dire situations for community blood centers like The Blood Connection (TBC) and the local hospitals it serves. People changed during the pandemic and while blood donations surged in the initial months following March 2020, they have steadily declined in the months and years since.
TBC relies on community blood donors to ensure shelves are stocked when lifesaving blood products are needed. While TBC has avoided a major blood shortage, it is experiencing a blood donor shortage, leading to critical supply levels at any given moment. The lack of personal connection seems to have forever changed how TBC will seek blood drive partners and donors.
COVID-19 is just one of the many factors that have led to a decrease in blood donations: older adults, who account for a large percentage of donations, are aging out of the donor pool and younger donors are not replacing them at a quick enough pace. When the pandemic struck and schools shifted to virtual learning, TBC lost about 30% of blood donations due to the lack of blood drives, expediting the shrinking the number of young blood donors.
While TBC and hospital partners can plan for typical blood usage and planned surgeries, no one knows when an emergency may arise that requires a high volume of blood in a short amount of time. The national Blood Emergency Readiness Corps was formed to combat that issue – a network of blood centers that reserves several units of blood products every week to ensure they are available should a mass-casualty or mass-injury event occur. TBC is “on-call” for the BERC from September 26 to October 6, further demonstrating the importance that community blood donors step up to donate blood now.
One blood donation has the power to save up to three lives. Just 45 minutes to an hour of a blood donor’s day could mean a lifetime to neighbors in need in local hospitals. As a community blood center and blood supplier to more than 100 hospitals across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, blood donors with TBC can feel confident that their blood donations are going directly to their community.
As a thank you to blood donors who answer the call, all blood donors with TBC between now and September 30 will receive a bonus $50 eGift card (2,000 bonus reward points). Bonus points take 24-48 hours to be uploaded to donor accounts. To find a center or mobile blood drive location, go to thebloodconnection.org/donate.