Vitalant Seeking Donors to Combat Severe Blood Shortage
By: Mary Balstad
Minnesota – Minnesota is currently facing a critical blood shortage. This nationwide epidemic is affecting many hospitals in the state. This shortage is currently negatively impacting many people, particularly those looking to get elective surgery or going through treatments. Vitalant Senior Donor Recruitment Representative Katie Bartelson discusses the scarcity of donors and why this may be occurring. The number one reason is the current pandemic and people’s anxieties about large gatherings.
Bartelson states that the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many sources and sites for donations. The shutdown of public gatherings and schools moving to distance learning prevented any Vitalant donation events. However, now that the state is opening back up, eligible blood donors are receiving calls to do their part and show up to donate. Bartelson explains the requirements to be a blood donor. This includes letting anyone age 16 or older donate blood if they are in good health.
Vitalant has also implemented a streamlined check-in process for donors. By completing the Fast Track Health History questionnaire, donors typically save around 20 minutes for the whole donation process. From two teaspoons of blood for premature babies to whole units for cancer patients, blood donations are vital. More information on local blood drives or how to become a donor can be found on Vitalant’s website at vitalant.org.