PHOENIX - January is National Blood Donor Month, and officials with blood services organization Vitalant announced on Jan. 10 that they will enter everyone who decided to donate blood during the month into a drawing for four $5,000 gift cards.
Officials with Vitalant say their blood supply levels are at their lowest in two years.
"This year, because of the omicron variant, so many people are sick right now that they're just not eligible to donate blood, and we need new donors to step up and take their place," said Sue Thew with Vitalant.
Thew said they are especially seeing a shortage in Type O bloods, which she says is a universal type of blood that is used in emergencies and traumas.
Officials with Vitalant say their blood donation levels fell short of what is needed by more than 4,500 donations in December, and the trend has continued into January.
"This is a nationwide problem. Everybody is having the same challenges in lower blood donations and fewer donors because of COVID-19," said Thew. "Tragedy strikes within a moment’s notice, and you can't wait for your family or friends to come donate. That blood transfusion has to be already on the shelves at the hospital if you want to have your life saved."
Officials with Vitalant say people can give blood immediately after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine if they are healthy and well.
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