(WWTI) — As the nationwide blood crisis continues, blood collection programs are pleading for donors. The Armed Services Blood Program provides blood products to service members, their families, retirees and veterans worldwide.
However, according to the ASBP Division Chief Army Colonel Audra Taylor, blood supply is critically low and the program is seeing low donations across the country.
“Historically, donations decrease in the holiday and winter months due to schedule changes, people taking leave, families going on vacation, weather conditions or illnesses impeding people from donating,” Taylor said in a press release. “This year, it’s all of those things in addition to COVID-19 restrictions and overall health and safety concerns for potential donors and ASBP blood donor center team members.”
These low levels have been echoed by other organizations and programs in the United States, including the American Red Cross which declared a national blood crisis in early January after blood supply fell to its lowest level in over a decade.
ASBP leaders are now urging donors to “replenish” the blood supply as it is a critical lifesaving tool to treat various conditions, including those for emergency use in combat operations.
“It’s also necessary to conduct surgeries at military hospitals and clinics,” Col. Taylor added. “It could be critical to the survival of a newborn baby. It could give treatment to those with blood-borne illnesses, with certain cancers, for burn victims.”
Armed Services Blood Program donor centers are located throughout the United States and locations around the world.
Individuals are eligible to donate if they are 17 years of age in most states, 16 with parental consent where allowed by state law, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health.
Blood drives or blood donor centers can be found on the Military Donor website.