Today, New York Blood Center (NYBC) declared the first blood emergency of 2023. The blood emergency is due to several evolving factors, including recent poor weather, school breaks and cold and flu season. Last month, NYBC and its divisions across the nation received 6,000 fewer blood donations than the year prior and blood donations are 12% below hospital and patient needs.
The number of blood donations still are not back to pre-pandemic levels. Compounding the problem is a continued lag in first-time and youth donors, which remain about half of pre-pandemic levels. And while New Yorkers are returning to in-person work, office and community blood drives and visits to NYBC Donor Centers are significantly down. People working from home had an easier time donating in our donor centers, but we’re seeing a dramatic decrease at our centers.
“Each winter, we struggle to get folks to donate blood and this year is no exception. We need more New Yorkers to make blood donations, host blood drives and spread the word about the need for donations,” said Andrea Cefarelli, Senior Vice President at New York Blood Center. “Last year, we expanded our reach with a new donor center, and we recently announced new donor guidelines from the FDA; we are expanding in every way we can in order to reach new donors. This March, make a blood donation and tell a friend!”
In addition to whole blood donors, platelet donors are urgently needed. With a shelf life of just 7 days, NYBC relies on dedicated platelet donors to help patients undergoing chemotherapy, those with bleeding disorders, new mothers, and more.