With more blood transfusions being performed in hospitals as more surgeries are being scheduled and blood supplies scarce, Bloodworks Northwest is making an urgent call for blood donors to book appointments now.
According to a press release, with confusion over post COVID-19 vaccination donation eligibility lingering, record high blood usage at hospitals across the Pacific Northwest and a national blood shortage, the community blood supply is facing a “perfect storm” that’s having a significant impact on the local blood supply.
In fact, Bloodworks officials are calling it the biggest blood shortage since the pandemic began a year ago.
Adding to this pressure is lingering concern that some donors may still be confused about whether they can donate blood after receiving their COVID-19 vaccination, leading them to delay donations unnecessarily.
As well, the number of donors arriving for scheduled appointments has been steadily dropping since February, according to the press release. In that month, the attendance rate was 80 percent. In March, that dropped to 77 percent, and in mid-April, it was at 73 percent.
According to the press release:
Patient usage is a record high 18 percent above normal, resulting in 500 additional units distributed in the past seven days. Types O positive and A positive are especially in demand.
The community’s blood supply is currently 1,700 units below operational levels, meaning only an emergency 24-hour supply of all blood types is available to hospitals.
 Type O is short 900 units, and Type A positive is short 600 units, leaving empty shelves.
It normally takes 1,000 donors every day to maintain an operational blood supply in western Washington and Oregon to respond to routine needs for blood and
emergencies.
According to the press release, there is no reason to delay donating blood after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Bloodworks Northwest urges community members of all blood types to book appointments at donor centers and pop-up blood drives in the coming weeks.
Most people in good health, at least 18 years old and who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate whole blood every 56 days.
Information about who can donate can be found at www.bloodworksnw.org.
To find pop-up blood drives coming up, go to www.bloodworksnw.org/donate/find-mobile-blood-drive, or call 800-398-7888.
In Seattle, Bloodworks Northwest has two donor centers where people can make appointments:
921 Terry Ave., Seattle, 206-292-6500.
And in north Seattle at 10357 Stone Ave. N., 206-526-1970
Appointments and masks are required.
In accordance with current social distancing guidelines, no walk-ins, guests or people under age 16 are permitted onsite.