Vitalant seeking blood donors in wake of critical shortage

Staff Writer

Vitalant announced today that there a critical blood shortage and donations of all blood types are needed immediately to prevent delays in lifesaving medical care for patients.

“Our blood supply is in a very fragile status which means doctors are having to make difficult decisions with who can receive a transfusion and who cannot,” said Amber Short, who coordinates blood drives in the region.

She said Vitalant has less than a two-day supply of Type O blood.

“We try to keep around a four-day supply because Type O is the most transfused blood type,” said Short.

She said O-negative is also needed because emergency room doctors grab it when there isn't time to determine a patient's blood type. The shortage has come about because, in May, donations fell short of the need by more than 4,000, she said. People are urged to participate in one of two blood drives at the Ag Trade Center in Colville in early July. The first is 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 3, and noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6. There is no waiting period to give blood after people receive an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. However, the vaccine is not required to donate blood, Short said. People can visit or call 1-877-258-4825 to make an appointment.