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Vitalant seeks to rebuild blood supply as pandemic eases

This is a recurring recording of KOLO 8 News Now at 10.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 11:16 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The need for blood is constant but in recent months, not enough Northern Nevada residents have rolled up their sleeves leaving Vitalant critically short of supplies.

At times, the nonprofit has had less than two days’ supply of critical blood types, according to senior donor recruitment manager, Scott Edward.

“we’re seeing about 500 less people in May and June than we anticipated,” Edward. “It’s the difficulty of trying to get back into the motion, into having the similar size drives.

In the aftermath of pandemic lockdowns, bringing drives to workplaces and college campuses has become more difficult.

“The makeup of work from home versus work in a building. Campuses, the rules on when you can or can’t go on a particular campus, whether it’s a college or high school. All of that, over the past four, or five months has really impacted us,” said Edward.

He adds another factor impacting donations is travel.

“It’s summertime, everybody has been couped up for a while and they’re traveling and so less people are coming into the center,” said Edward.

Although some people have started to respond to Vitalant’s critical shortage announcement, the nonprofit is still very concerned going into the 4th of July weekend.

“Pople are going to have an extra-long weekend. Whenever that happens, it’s just extra period of time, where the blood is not coming in. You have extra traveling on the road... It could overlap into just having high usage needs and we just need to be prepared for it,” said Edward.

Vitalant serves over 22 hospitals in northern Nevada, including Renown. A hospital spokesperson told KOLO8 News Now that despite the decrease in donors, procedures and transfusions have not been impacted.

“There’s lots of different ways you can give blood,” said Jon Tuner, who was donating blood at the center Tuesday afternoon. “I’m doing one that they take twice as much blood and I come back half as often, which is very convenient.”

The nonprofit has been reaching out to organizations to try and get back to a pre-pandemic momentum. However, many of those organizations are still trying to get back their own momentum.

Edward says they’re needing donations to increase the next seven days to be prepared for the anniversary of Independence Day.

All blood types are needed, especially type O. If you would like to donate, visit vitalant.org, use the Vitalant app or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825) to secure your spot to save lives.

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