ORLANDO, Fla. – OneBlood in Central Florida launched a new tool to encourage more donors to make life saving donations amid a national shortage of accessible blood.
Blood donations fell at a record rate in 2021, according to the Red Cross.
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Susan Forbes, senior vice president of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at OneBlood, called the blood supply “tight.”
“It is probably the most challenging environment we have ever operated in,” Forbes said.
Forbes said the variants of COVID, including omicron, have an impact on locations where OneBlood typically holds large blood drives.
“As things start to shift again, that starts to impact the blood supply again,” Forbes said.
Forbes said people are not eligible to donate if they are feeling sick, but vaccination status does not matter.
“You can donate either way, so if you’ve been vaccinated with a COVID vaccine you can donate, if you aren’t vaccinated you can still donate,” Forbes said.
Forbes said OneBlood gets 20% of donations from high schools and universities, which in some cases have not resumed in person. Remote work and canceled large events have also played a role.
Starting in January 2022, OneBlood launched a new personalized outreach effort to attract more donors.
“It’s information they’ve never had before,” Forbes said.
“My OneBlood Journey” will notify donors when and where, depending on the hospital, their donation is sent.
“Message my Donor” will allow patients to send a one-way message to their donor, as a way to say thank you.
“Imagine in the middle of the day getting a message from somebody saying, ‘Hey I got your blood donation, you helped save my life,” Forbes said.
OneBlood would like to encourage anyone looking for a resolution in 2022 to consider becoming a blood donor.