Vitalant seeks donors to curb period of low blood supply

The organization is asking those under the age of 60 to donate

FARGO, N.D. — Spring is usually a steady time for the blood collecting nonprofit, Vitalant, but with more and more closures amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the number of donors the organization is seeing is low.

“This time of year we do a lot of blood drives at businesses, high schools, colleges and because those are all being closed down, it has made a huge impact in our blood supply,” said Vitalant community ambassador director, Jennifer Bredahl.

Bredahl says about 60% of Vitalant’s blood supply comes from those mobile blood drives.

Even while social distancing, it is important for people to donate to help make up for those losses.

The majority of donors Vitalant sees on a regular basis are over the age of 50, but with the high risk from coronavirus presented to that demographic, the organization is specifically in need of younger volunteers.

“Right now with them being the ones that we are really concerned about, making sure that they are staying home and staying healthy, we want to make sure that we get the population out that is anywhere from 16-60,” says Bredahl.

Unfortunately, low supply is not the only problem Vitalant is facing.

When blood is drawn, a sample must be sent to labs in either in Arizona or Texas, but with nearly all flights being delayed or canceled, it been difficult to get this accomplished.

“It has kept the blood from being tested the day of,” reveals Bredahl. “Blood, platelets and plasma all have different time frames of how quickly we can use them. When we lose a day of processing through those platelets products, we are losing a chance to help a patient save their life.”

Vitalant is trying to get creative to find ways to work around the travel issues, but they are also looking for more people who are willing to help.

“We’re working with the National Guard to see if they could help fly some down on the weekends,” says Bredahl. “There is also different organizations across the country that have volunteer pilots that fly and help save lives this way, so maybe we will have somebody step up in our community that would be interested in volunteering some of their time to fly products.”

To donate or volunteer, visit the Vitalant Blood Center at 3231 11th St in Fargo.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Health, Local News, North Dakota News