Blood donations are vital during winter months


BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) — There’s a constant need for blood donors across the U.S. The American Red Cross in Burlington had to adjust their ways when the pandemic hit.

“The tough part when this all started was that we basically lost all of our schools, our education is 25-30% of all the blood drives that we run, and we lost a large portion of businesses when people went remote,” said Brad Howort, an account manager with American Red Cross Donor Services. 

Howort said many communities stepped up with sites for blood donations, but now it’ll be even harder in the winter months.

“It’s pretty typically every January or so we go into what’s called a critical need or urgent need appeal where we are letting the public know now is the time,” Howort said. 

At each blood drive or donation center, Red Cross employees follow many safety protocols.

“It starts right at the door, temperatures are taken every single person prior to entering the blood drive, in the dead of winter it’s right at the door,” Howort said. 

Gloves and masks are worn at all times and all stations are constantly sanitized. 

“In over a thousand drives that we’ve run since the pandemic began we have had zero issues in Vermont,” Howort said. 

They run close to 1,500 drives a year. Howort said donations save lives.

 “Twenty five percent of all blood donations go to cancer patients right off the bat, one great thing about Vermont is that being a small state 90-100 percent of all blood donations will stay in the state,” Howort said. 

According to the FDA, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion or blood product every two seconds.

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