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Why Is There a Blood Shortage and How Is It Affecting the Pandemic?

The ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still unfolding to this day, and healthcare professionals are scrambling to find a way to put patients at ease. The national blood shortage is entirely unprecedented and shows no signs of easing in the immediate future.

The extremely limited number of recent donors has reached an all-time low, which is the worst-case scenario, not just for doctors and other medical providers but also for researchers.

Effects of a Blood Shortage

When there is a blood shortage, it puts a great number of people’s lives at risk. Without blood for research trials and other necessary medical innovations, development of new therapies, vaccines, and medications is put on hold.

People suffering from cancer and other life-threatening illnesses are the most threatened by this shortage, as cancer often makes it nearly impossible for the body’s bone marrow to produce blood cells. However, research is equally affected, as many clinical trials rely on ready access to blood and blood products.

A fair number of surgeries also involve a serious amount of blood loss. It isn’t always ideal, but doctors depend on blood transfusions to replace what their patients are losing on the table. Researchers are working to develop revolutionary techniques that limit this need, but one of the major requirements of such research is easy access to blood.

Now, decisions have to be made about how much blood can be apportioned for research and development uses. As the immediate need for blood in regular healthcare grows unmet, more research users are being forced to either limit the scope of their trials or end them completely.

Causes of a Blood Shortage

The pandemic has resulted in new ways of life that we did not foresee. Remote work is becoming the norm, people don’t stand as close to each other in lines, and learning can be done from anywhere. Another unfortunate product of the pandemic is the national blood shortage that’s hurting both front-line health care and health protection research.
Blood drives and the promotional campaigns behind them are typically held in public places that help drive home the importance of donating blood. Public schools, colleges, organizations, and clubs stopped meeting in person and hosting blood drives that sparked active participation in the community.

Without a place to advertise why, when, and how to donate blood, national blood donation numbers began to dwindle rapidly. What makes matters worse is how much blood just one clinical trial can need.

Important tests like those used to develop the various COVID vaccines can use hundreds of liters of blood in a very short amount of time.

Between researchers who are in immediate need of large batches of blood at once and those who require smaller amounts regularly, the already low supply is facing even more strain. COVID variants Delta and Omicron wreaked havoc over the United States, further pushing blood supplies into critically low territory.

How You Can Help Your Community

Being aware of the national blood shortage crisis puts you in a unique position to help the general public. After passing a negative COVID test and donating blood, you can use your voice to spread the importance of blood donation to others.

Even though people have been seeing blood donation drives, commercials, campaigns, and flyers for most of their lives, it usually isn’t something at the forefront of people’s minds. Sometimes a gentle reminder can spark inspiration in someone to do their part in the fight against COVID and the struggle to return our medical industry to stability.

No one is sure exactly how long the shortage will last. At the very least, we will be attempting to correct this problem through the spring and summer months. While the national blood shortage is still ongoing, donating blood as many times as allowed is the best way to help.

Trials and important research have been rescheduled, delayed, and even canceled due to the powerful, highly contagious symptoms COVID brought to us almost two years ago.

Help our research professionals save lives and improve patients’ quality of life by donating blood and spreading the word to your network of friends and family. The only way for us to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever is to band together and commit to facing this urgent challenge.

Staying Aware of Medical Developments During COVID-19

The world is evolving faster than ever before. As things change, it is important to be informed on what’s going on and what it means for the medical industry. To get more in-depth knowledge about the blood shortage, COVID, and how we can all move forward, contact HemaCare today.