The Arizona division of a nonprofit responsible for collecting blood donations for hospitals said it is currently experiencing a blood supply shortage, and urged people to participate in upcoming donation drives.
The Arizona Vitalant chapter said in a tweet this week that blood donors were “urgently needed” at its Saturday blood drive in Tempe, Ariz., located just east of Phoenix.
The organization said that Independence Day weekend “is the lowest time of the summer for donations,” noting that all blood types were needed, but Type O blood, considered the universal donor, was “down to [a] one-day supply for Arizona hospitals.”
Vitalant is offering several prizes for those who participate in Saturday’s Tempe blood drive, including a chance to be drawn as a finalist to win a 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan S, with all donors receiving a complimentary ticket to a future Arizona Coyotes hockey team game.
Blood donors urgently needed July 3 for Saving Arizona blood drive @ TCA. The Independence holiday week is the lowest time of the summer for donations. All types needed, but type-O blood down to one-day supply for Arizona hospitals. Appointments: https://t.co/ce9QctfpW5 pic.twitter.com/2pHy6hIlFH
— Vitalant – Arizona (@VitalantAZ) June 29, 2021
According to The Associated Press, Sid Lewis, one of Vitalant’s directors of donor recruitment, said that regular blood donors tend to go on vacation during the summer. At the same time, Lewis said more vacation travel leads to higher rates of traffic accidents, thus increasing the need for blood at emergency rooms and trauma centers.
The AP reported that 400 of 530 appointments on Saturday are still unfilled.
The shortage comes as hospitals across the country have had a more difficult time gaining access to blood donations amid the coronavirus pandemic with cancelled blood drives.
Additionally, the American Red Cross said last month that it was experiencing a “severe blood shortage” following a rise in the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries requiring blood donations in recent months.
“Some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care,” Chris Hrouda, president of Red Cross Biomedical Services, said in a statement at the time. “As we return to pre-pandemic activities and resume travel to visit loved ones, we want people to remember the needs of patients this summer and the power so many of us have to help save lives.”