DENVER – Vitalant is asking for people to donate blood due to shortages of platelets and type O blood following recent storms and cold and flu season.
The blood center sent a news release Wednesday morning that said there’s a “critical need” for platelets and type O blood in particular. Vitalant said the company had to cancel four blood drives due to recent storms around the area, which impacted the 3,000 donations of all different blood types needed per week to meet demand.
Striving to maintain a four day supply of type O blood in case of emergencies, currently, Vitalant has less than half that amount for its nationwide supply. In addition, blood donations collected in December and January are down almost 50%, making it a challenge to maintain adequate supplies.
January is National Blood Donor Month and everyone is strongly encouraged to donate in the coming days to help with the shortage. All eight blood donation centers in Colorado will be open daily through Saturday. The Colorado Springs center at Austin Bluffs Parkway and North Academy Blvd. will be open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. January 23rd in addition to its usual schedule of Thursday – Tuesday.
To schedule an appointment to give blood, go to their website or call 303-363-2300. Walk-in donors are always welcome.
“We typically see a drop in donations around this time of year because people are not only recovering from the holidays, many are also suffering from the flu and other illnesses,” Senior Director of Donor Recruitment Charlie Propernick said. “Add bad weather to the mix and it makes it extremely difficult to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients who need it.”
Volunteer blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in general good health. Donors who are 16 and 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.