‘We are in a critical situation’: Blood donations desperately needed in the Valley

By: Monica De Anda

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Blood donations are desperately needed in the Rio Grande Valley, according to a Vitalant Blood Bank representative who says their supply is running dangerously low.

Carla Alexander, communications manager at Vitalant, says they blood blank saw fewer donors in the Valley during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, likely due to people being extra cautious.

With many surgeries put on hold due to COVID-19, Alexandre says the blood bank managed, but now hospitals are in need, and the donations have not increased to meet the demand.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the country needs blood or platelets. Having enough blood available could be the difference between life and death.

Vitalant officials say they require any blood type but desperately need type O negative, also known as the universal blood type.

“There is an ongoing need for blood,” Alexander said. “Not just for accidents, but for surgeries. Heart surgeries, cancer, all sorts of things. We just want people to consider that they would want the blood to be on the shelf if it was their family. It’s always someone’s family.”

Alexander says one in four people will need a blood transfusion in their life. She urges the community to be a part of the solutions.

“The people in the Valley— when there are urgent situations— they’re really good about stepping up,” Alexander said. “We are in an urgent need at this time.”

Officials say the COVID-19 vaccine does not stop you from donating blood.

For more information and to find the nearest blood bank or drive, visit www.Vitalant.org.


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