Blood supplies are low. Please encourage donation.

Blood shortages are common in the summer months, and COVID-19 has played havoc with usual donation patterns.

emergency blood.2Blood supplies are becoming low again across the United States. UAB Medicine and LifeSouth Community Blood Centers will host a blood drive at Prince of Peace Catholic Church on May 10 through May 14. 

The drive will operate from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. Appointments are available at Prince of Peace is at 4600 Preserve Parkway, Hoover, Ala.

“Blood donation has been severely affected by COVID-19, and as we head into summer — traditionally a time when blood shortages are common — the situation may become critical if donations do not increase now,” said Marisa Marques, M.D., director of Transfusion Services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. “Hospitals need suitable reserves for those patients who need a blood transfusion, such as those with cancer, sickle cell disease, undergoing emergency surgery, trauma victims or post-partum women, among others. We urge you to please consider donating blood at this time of need.”

As part of recommended social distancing, many frequent or casual blood donors have curtailed their normal activities, including blood donation. However, donating blood can be done safely as blood collection agencies have implemented multiple strategies to reduce any potential risk of exposure to staff and donors.

Donors of all blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Donors will receive a recognition item and a cholesterol screening.

UAB is one of the largest users nationally of blood supplied by blood centers. Donors can give blood up to six times a year, every eight weeks. The process takes about 45 minutes; the actual blood collection usually takes less than 20 minutes.