On Tuesday, the American Red Cross declared a national blood crisis for the first time as they face the worst blood shortage in over a decade.
It’s affecting all Vermont hospitals by limiting the amount of blood they are allowed to order and have on their shelves available for patients.
In recent weeks, the Red Cross had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types. Dr. Sarah Harm, the medical director of the blood bank at the University of Vermont Medical Center said this is having an impact on hospitals.
“We can transfuse to the daily need but we just don’t have the extra on hand in case there are larger than normal needs,” Dr. Harm said.
Donor recruiter for the American Red Cross of Vermont, Lisa Fitzgerald said there are multiple reasons for the shortage.
“Right now it’s a combination of things,” Fitzgerald said. “I would say the weather, I would say COVID and also staffing. We are in the same situation as many companies across the country.”
The pandemic has caused a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood, but Fitzgerald said it’s safe to give.
“You could have your COVID vaccine or flu shot but as long as you’re healthy you could come out to donate,” Fitzgerald said.
Kayla Haskins, 20-year-old, just gave blood for the first time.
“It’s really good to be helping people,” Haskins said. “My grandfather discovered that he had leukemia twice through donating blood so I wanted to do it for a while.”
Chris Wells also wanted to help.
“It’s something that I can donate and use to help other people and it doesn’t hurt me,” Wells said.
Every two seconds someone needs blood, and one pint of blood can save up to three lives.
The American Red Cross of Vermont is not able to take any walk-ins but donors can find schedules for blood drives here.