Red Cross: COVID-19 vaccination not required for blood donations

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 5:59 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Nebraska-Iowa regional office for the American Red Cross is emphasizing that unvaccinated individuals who want to donate blood absolutely can do so.

“We are currently seeing a shortage in blood donations... so it is important that anyone who is eligible and able to give, do so,” a spokesman told 6 News on Monday.

The Red Cross has updated its safety protocols according to CDC and OSHA recommendations, requiring unvaccinated donors to wear masks and socially distance; vaccinated staff and donors no longer need to do either.

The Red Cross is encouraging donors, noting Monday is World Blood Donor Day.

The Nebraska Community Blood Bank said in a Monday release that there has been a dramatic drop in blood donations in the past 15 months, and a surge in blood donor need as hospitals perform surgeries postponed during the pandemic and more patients seek medical care they may have delayed because of COVID-19 concerns.

“There’s a nationwide shortage,” said Cheryl Warholoski, NCBB director of operations. “We currently have only a 3-day supply of blood to offer to more than 20 local hospitals. The long-term impact of the pandemic has meant we’ve had a year of virtually no high school or college first-time donors, and 41% fewer donors between the ages of 17-24.”

For more information about donating blood with COVD-19 safety precautions or to schedule an appointment to give blood, visit NCBB.ORG or call 1-877-486-9414.

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