Blood Centers declare critical blood supply shortage, urge donations

Photo courtesy of Jared Beasley, American Red Cross

The American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and AABB have come together to announce that there are critical blood supply shortages in the U.S. and to urge eligible, healthy people to donate blood or platelets.

In a separate appeal, Vitalant, a nonprofit blood provider serving 900 hospitals nationwide, also emphasized the need for blood and platelet donations, noting that its supplies of type O blood—the most transfused blood type, particularly in emergencies—have plunged to levels not seen since May 2020.

“We’re seeking about 1,000 additional volunteer donors to make and keep an appointment each week for the foreseeable future to ensure Vitalant can help trauma victims, cancer patients and critical surgeries,” said Vitalant Senior Vice President Cliff Numark about his organization’s call for blood and platelet donations.

The widespread call for donations comes at a time that is traditionally stable with blood donations, according to the statement from the American Red Cross and its partners. Per the partners, “the recent COVID-19 case surge and the busy back-to-school period” have caused a number of blood collection organizations to see an unusual drop in fall donor turnouts.

Blood drive cancellations at schools, in addition to businesses limiting the number of individuals allowed onsite due to pandemic-related precautions have only compounded the blood shortage problem, per the partners.

“These collection challenges have disrupted the nation’s blood supply, resulting in concerningly low inventories of life-saving blood products across the country for patients in need,” stated the partners.

If the blood supply does not stabilize soon, the partners estimated that hospitals may need to cancel certain patient surgeries and alter treatments. “Blood donations are needed now to help maintain optimal care for all patients,” they stated.

Aside from urging eligible people to donate blood, the partners are asking “individuals, schools, businesses and other community organizations to host a blood drive” which they say “are critically important to provide local blood donation opportunities and to bring communities together to help save lives.”

In the South Bay, upcoming American Red Cross blood drives will be held: Daily typically between 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. (hours vary) at the San Jose Blood Donation Center, 2731 North First St. in San Jose. Click here to make an appointment with the American Red Cross. Vitalant blood drives are held the second and fourth Mondays from 1-6 p.m. at Cambrian Park Church of the Nazarene, 2575 Coit Dr. in San Jose. Click here to make an appointment with Vitalant. There also are Stanford Blood Drives on Tues., Nov. 16 at the City of Sunnyvale (mobile) at 665 W. Olive Ave. in Sunnyvale, as well as Wed., Dec. 1 at DeAnza College (mobile) at 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino. Click here for more info about the mobile Stanford Blood Drives.

To find one of the partners’ local blood collection sites to schedule an appointment to donate, contact AABB at or +1.301.907.6977; America’s Blood Centers at or +1.202.393.5725; or the American Red Cross: or +1.800.RED CROSS (+1.800.733.2767).

To learn more or to schedule a donation appointment via Vitalant, click here or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825).