Blood Supplies Reach Record Lows

Courtesy of the American Red Cross.

HYANNIS – According to American Red Cross officials, fall blood supply levels nationwide are the lowest point they have been in more a decade.

The dip is a continuation of a trend seen throughout 2021, with blood donor turnout recently reaching its lowest point yet this year, according to Dr. Emily Coberly, divisional chief medical officer of the Red Cross.

She said that the shortage is forcing doctors and hospital staff to make difficult decisions in how to best use the limited supply for patients who need it most. 

“Currently about one quarter of all donation appointment slots are going unfilled across the country. There just aren’t enough people donating blood right now to meet the needs of hospital patients,” said Coberly.

“Fall is normally a time when we’re able to build up the blood supply before we head into the holidays and winter when people are busier and we normally would see donations fall. So it’s especially concerning to be at this low of a level at this point as we head into the holidays.”

Coberly said that the need never ceases for blood, though the winter can be especially harsh amid busy holidays as well as flus and other illnesses that cause people to skip donation appointments.

As the COVID pandemic continues, Coberly said that it is safe to donate blood and that the Red Cross and other health services are taking all necessary public health precautions. 

There is also no waiting period before making a donation after receiving a COVID vaccine shot, so individuals may make appointments anytime as long as they are feeling well, said Coberly. 


About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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