Pa. DOH and blood banks plea with residents to help address shortage


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pa. Department of Health and blood banks statewide came together on Thursday to call on Pennsylvanians to give blood to those in need.

These blood shortages, also a national issue, were triggered due to a dropoff in volunteers who used to give blood on a regular basis before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is a critical shortage of blood across Pennsylvania and the nation, as COVID-19 has prevented some donors from giving blood and impacted the scheduling of blood drives,” Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said. “Blood is essential for surgeries, traumatic injuries, cancer treatment and chronic illnesses, which is why it is so important for individuals to go to their local blood bank or find a blood drive near them and donate. An adequate supply of blood is essential to ensure Pennsylvanians have safe, continuous access to the highest quality of health care.” 

Officials were in Harrisburg to spread the word about the safety measures blood banks are taking, including masking up all workers and keeping people distanced at all times.

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“Really, donating blood is a safe environment. It’s probably safer than going to your store where you’re around a lot of people, some of whom are wearing masks and some are not,” Medical Director and Vice President of the Miler-Keystone Blood Center Dr. Kip Kuttner said.

Blood banks also want to recruit young donors to carry the torch. Right now, about 25% of regular donors are 60 or older.

The state says they need all blood types to ensure a reliable supply for medical providers. To be eligible, Pennsylvanians need to be at least 16 years old, in good health and weigh a minimum of 120 pounds.

To find out where you can donate in the Midstate, go to the Central Penn Blood Bank website.

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