For the first time in 2023, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) declared a blood emergency.
According to NYBC, the organization and its divisions across the nation received 6,000 fewer blood donations than the year prior, with blood donations being 12% below hospital and patient needs as a result. NYBC attributes the emergency to several factors, including poor weather, school breaks and cold and flu season.
“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!”
NYBC says that the number of blood donations has not reached pre-pandemic levels, and there is a continued lag in first-time and youth donors, which remain about half of the pre-pandemic levels. The organization notes that though many New Yorkers are returning to the office, the number of office and community blood drives and visits to NYBC Donor Centers are down.
NYBC is also calling for platelet donors. Platelets only have a shelf life of 7 days and are relied upon for patients undergoing chemotherapy, those with bleeding disorders, new mothers, and more.
Blood can be given every 56 days and platelet donors can give them twice a month. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently lifted eligibility restrictions for individuals who lived in Europe during certain periods of time.To view current eligibility guidelines, or to schedule an appointment to donate, visit nybc.org.