Blood donations needed now: Critical shortage nationwide

Blood shortage is nationwide, is affecting Pine Belt as well
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 4:23 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Right now, there is a critical blood shortage nationwide that’s also affecting the Pine Belt.

Michelle Anderson-Jones, senior account manager with Vitalant Blood Services, said donors of all blood types are needed.

“When school started back, all the kids getting back together, everybody started getting sick,” Anderson-Jones said. “We started seeing appointments being cancelled, blood drives being cancelled.

“So, then that bleeds back into our local blood supply. And we are now less than a three-day supply of some types on the shelf. So,we are really working to try to get out in the community.”

Local blood drives, like Powers Fire & Rescue’s annual blood drive that was staged Saturday, are needed to maintain the supply. Anderson-Jones said

Vitalant is totally dependent on these drives, she said.

“Our local blood supply comes from Vitalant,” Anderson-Jones said. “We are the local blood bank, so any time you see a Vitalant blood drive in the area, it’s to benefit us right here at home.”

First responders like Powers Fire and Rescue volunteer firefighter Lance Chancellor see emergencies firsthand where blood is needed.

“So, we see the results of tragic accidents or prolonged or chronic illnesses that are requiring blood donations in order for those people to be able to survive,” Chancellor said. “So, critically, in terms of blood supply, we are just trying to fill that gap.”

Donors can give whole blood every 56 days, give “power reds” every 16 weeks.

Anderson-Jones said some people hesitate because of some common misconceptions about donating blood.

Many times, people think they can’t give blood because they have high blood pressure or they are diabetic,

“These are total misconceptions,” Anderson-Jones said. “It’s actually quite the opposite.

“Donating blood helps lower your blood pressure, it lowers your blood sugar. It’s a natural way for your body to combat these things.”

To schedule an appointment to donate blood or to see local blood drives, click here.

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