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Upcoming Day of Service blood drive aiming to boost critically low supplies

Blood supplies
Blood donations sit in storage awaiting transfer at Vitalant's San Luis Obispo office Monday afternoon. (Evan Vega/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Vitalant is aiming to boost critically low blood supplies during the upcoming Third Annual Day of Service Blood Drive.

The event is sponsored by NewsChannel 3-12 and will be held at Vitalant blood centers in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

"We are asking all blood types to come out and donate blood, but specifically Type O because that is the most commonly used blood type in emergency situations," said Laura Kamada, Donor Recruitment Representative.

The blood drive has been a big success over the previous two years. Vitalant is hoping for even more success this time around because the need is especially great.

"Right now, we are dealing with a national blood shortage," said Kamada. "Vitalant We are at a historical two-year low. Normally, we would like to have about four days worth of blood supplies on the shelves in case of emergencies and patients in need, and right now, we are under two days worth of blood supply."

The current blood shortage has the potential to put the community at risk, particularly at times when it's needed in emergency situations.

"It's definitely a concern," said Kamada. "When it is low there is a possibility hospitals will have to cancel surgeries. We always want to make sure we have blood on the shelves because if there is an emergency, we want to make sure that it is there, so it's really important to make sure that people are donating during this time."

Kamada pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as the main culprit behind the shortage in donations.

"One thousand percent," said Kamada. "With the rise of Covid and flu, we are seeing a lot of donors not showing up, so that could be a huge reason why people are not donating blood."

Donating blood is easy, fairly quick, and is safe.

"We are taking all Covid precautionary steps here," said Kamada. "We are sanitizing. We were gloves. We require donors to wear masks. If you are not feeling well, please do not come in to donate blood. If you received the Covid vaccine or the flu shot, there is no wait period and we would love to see you come out and donate."

While no one who is currently infected with COVID-19 may donate, anyone has has had the virus in the past and recovered is eligible to give.

"Once you have recovered from Covid and you haven't been showing symptoms for two weeks, you can definitely come in and donate blood," said Kamada.

To give donors a little more incentive to take part in the blood drive, Vitalant is offering a chance to win a very significant cash prize.

"Because it is National Blood Donor Month in January, all donors that donate blood will be put into a raffle to win a $5,000 gift card and Vitalant will be picking four winners," said Kamada.

The Day of Service Blood Drive is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 17 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Vitalant offices in San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

To make a reservation to donate, or for more information on the blood drive, click here. You can also call 877-258-4825.

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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.


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