Severe blood shortages are happening nationwide, including here in Pennsylvania. Blood shortages occur when patient demand for blood and blood components is greater than the supply provided by volunteer blood donors.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increase in demand, along with a decrease in donor response, canceled and postponed drives, and other significant challenges.
While we're at a critical need for blood right now, blood donations are needed year round.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs lifesaving blood. Many patients who have major surgeries will need a blood transfusion. Additionally, blood transfusions are used for patients who have serious injuries from car crashes or natural disasters, and people with illnesses that cause anemia, like leukemia or kidney disease. The demand for blood has increased 5-25 percent across the country compared to this time in 2019 for a variety of reasons.
You can help to ease the strain on the nation's blood supply, and save lives, by becoming a blood donor.
Donating blood is quick, safe and easy. Blood donors of all types are needed to ensure the supply is available when its needed.
If you're able, consider consistently donating blood throughout the year.
Who Can Donate Blood
There are requirements that donors must meet to donate blood. Most people can donate blood every 56 days, up to six times a year, if they meet the following criteria:
- In good health and feeling well;
- Be at least 16 years old; and
- Weigh a minimum of 110 pounds.
Additional eligibility criteria apply, including certain medications, medical conditions, travel to certain countries, and personal history. It's important to visit the
Red Cross blood donation eligibility page for specific eligibility information.
According to the Red Cross, if you received a COVID-19 vaccine, you may still donate blood. Knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine is important in determining your blood donation eligibility. Learn more about
COVID-19 vaccine and blood donor eligibility.
Where to Donate Blood
There are five major blood donation centers in Pennsylvania. You can reach out to the location closest to you and make an appointment to donate, or find a blood drive near you:
There are also blood donation centers in hospitals and other donation centers across the Commonwealth.
If you're a first-time donor, or even if you donate regularly, you may have questions about donating blood. View the resources below for more information on blood donation: