A spokesperson from American Red Cross discusses the importance of National Blood Donor Month and the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
January marks National Blood Donor Month, a reminder that many lives can potentially be saved so long as a constant supply of blood is available.
To commemorate this month of awareness and advocacy, HCPLive® spoke with Rodney Wilson, Senior Biomedical Communications Specialist of American Red Cross, about the importance of donating blood and the barriers that are prevalent among communities.
The effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have undoubtedly been felt in the realm of healthcare in more ways than one. With lockdowns and restrictions in place and fears of the virus pronounced among individuals, blood donations and supply have seen a notable decline.
“When the pandemic hit, and as many people saw, life came to a halt,” Wilson said. “Many things, like churches and schools, closed—cancelled events. That had an inadvertent effect on the blood supply because these groups that would otherwise be open had planned to have blood drives.”
As such, thousands of venues operating as blood drives centers shuttered down all across the country.
To combat these immense challenges, the Red Cross has had to mobilize and work with various locations, including churches and sports venues, to reinstate centers.
Wilson also noted the particular hardships facing minorities and members of underserved communities, who are likely to have conditions (like sickle cell disease) that require frequent blood transfusions.
He described the various ways the Red Cross has worked to meet the needs of hospitals and communities and ensure blood of all types and ethnicities are in constant supply.