American Red Cross warns of ‘severe’ blood shortage

The American Red Cross has warned of a “severe” blood shortage nationwide of “unprecedented levels” amid a tough battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the media reported.

“We did not anticipate that it would be at this level,” Xinhua news agency quoted Pampee Young, the Red Cross’s chief medical officer of biomedical services, as saying in a Washington Post report published on Thursday.

According to the report, this year alone, the Red Cross said it has experienced a 10 per cent increase in red blood cell demand from hospital trauma centres compared with 2019.

The Red Cross also attributed the pandemic towards the blood shortage as well.

It said that there was a need for increased blood transfusions because people who deferred care during the pandemic are now experiencing more advanced disease progression, which leads to an increase in demand for transfusions.

Since March of 2021, the Red Cross said that it has distributed nearly 75,000 more blood products than officials expected, to meet these needs.

“The rise in need and a slowdown in traditional collection methods, such as donation drives at schools and offices, halted in large due to pandemic precautions, means supplies have dwindled to precariously low levels,” the American Red Cross added.

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, have updated their recommendations for blood donations as Covid-19 vaccinations have become more prevalent across the country.