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Puget Sound blood supply “hanging by a thread” during “most prolonged blood shortage in recent years”

WESTERN WASHINGTON — A half-day supply is all that remains on the near-empty shelves at Bloodworks Northwest according to a recent company press release.

Bloodworks Northwest is once again declaring a “Code Red” alarm to combat the “most prolonged, most severe blood shortage in recent years,” affecting local hospitals and trauma centers across the Pacific Northwest over the last several weeks, the press release said.

Bloodworks cannot fill all hospital orders with dangerously low supplies of Type O and A. As a result, hospitals have been advised to conserve their onsite supplies to maintain adequate supply for emergencies.

Donors in western Washington and Oregon can respond to this emergency by booking and keeping appointments to donate every 56 days. Most people who are in good health, are at least 18 years old and who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate. You do not need to know your blood type to become a blood donor.

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Bloodworks Northwest Executive Vice President of Blood Services Vicki Finson says, “This is the most prolonged, most severe blood shortage in recent years, with little indication of significant improvement. Therefore, we could be hanging by a thread for months to come if our community doesn’t take action.” Finson adds, “Blood is being shipped to hospitals as fast as it’s being collected. We’re communicating with hospitals to conserve blood and appealing to donors to book appointments so that doctors don’t need to make difficult decisions like canceling surgeries or delaying transfusions based on the blood supply.”

The recent dramatic rise in the Omicron variant of COVID-19 means fewer donors are available to donate. Bloodworks says if you’re feeling healthy, we need new and returning donors to donate now. Donors can safely donate the same day they get their COVID vaccine booster. Same day blood donation appointments are available at most locations, and appointments in the next three weeks are just as vital. Right now, universal Type O blood is extremely important, especially for trauma and emergency situations when the patient’s blood type in unknown. January is National Blood Donor Month, and with this blood shortage that is nothing short of a national public health emergency, the importance of blood donors is keenly felt.

Bloodworks Northwest press release (January 7, 2022)

Donations with Bloodworks provide 95% of the lifesaving blood supply to Pacific Northwest hospitals. It takes about an hour to give blood from check-in to post-donation cookie. Information about who can donate and where, is available at www.bloodworksnw.org.

Donations can be made in Whatcom County at the Bloodworks Northwest Bellingham donor center at 410 W Bakerview Road, #117. Appointments can be scheduled online.

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From Bloodworks Northwest officials: Due to high community response and staff shortages we are experiencing longer than usual response times. Booking ahead is critical to meet the daily need for blood in our community. The need never stops. Thank you for taking the time to donate!

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2 Comments

  1. Jack January 16, 2022

    Tried to schedule an appointment to donate but none available in Bellingham

    • Whatcom News Post author | January 16, 2022

      As of the time of your comment, appointments were available from February 23rd and later in the Bellingham donor center.

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