Yuma, Arizona - Last week the American Red Cross saw the lowest blood donor turnout since the pandemic began more than a year ago. As the nation transitions to a new, hopeful phase of this devastating pandemic, blood donations remain essential to the health of our communities.

The Red Cross urges eligible individuals who are feeling well to please make an appointment today to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 800-RED-CROSS.

“We believe last week’s low donor turn out is potentially a signal of more serious challenges to come in ensuring there is a sufficient blood supply readily available for patients as donors resume travel, family vacations and other pre-pandemic activities,” said Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer, American Red Cross Biomedical Services. “The Red Cross is grateful to the hundreds of thousands of donors who rolled up their sleeves throughout the pandemic to help, however, the need for blood is constant and must constantly be replenished due to the short shelf-life of blood.”

Unfortunately, the Red Cross continues to feel the ongoing effects of COVID-19 as roughly 1,000 drives are canceled each week due to the pandemic. With more and more individuals receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, the Red Cross wants people to know that, in most cases, there is no blood donation deferral time after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. However, knowing the name of the vaccine manufacturer is important in determining blood donation eligibility. View a video on blood donation and COVID-19 vaccines.

Those who come to give with the Red Cross now through April 30 will be entered for a chance to win a $1,000 e-gift card.

Health insights for donors

The Red Cross is testing blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. The test may indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Testing may also identify the presence of antibodies developed after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test. To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, it is important that individuals who do not feel well or believe they may be ill with COVID-19 postpone donation.

Donors can expect to receive antibody test screening results within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. 

Safety remains a priority

All safety protocols remain in place to protect our donors and staff during this pandemic. Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control. To ensure the health of staff and donors, we have implemented new safety protocols including —

  • Temperature checks for both staff and donors prior to entering a blood drive or donation center;
  • Face masks required for everyone;
  • Available hand sanitizer throughout the donation process; and
    Social distancing wherever possible.

We also urge donors schedule an appointment prior to arrival to help ensure we can manage the flow of donors at drives.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.