Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Red Cross reports blood shortage, falls short of 200 unit goal

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Amidst the worst shortage of blood in over six years, the American Red Cross held a blood drive at the Student Recreation Center, with the goal of collecting 200 units of blood.

One hundred ninety-seven units of blood were collected at the blood drive, just three units short of the goal.

President of the Red Cross Club and secretary of student government Kate Appleman said the process it takes to donate blood is often what keeps people from donating, but it is “never that bad.”

“What most people do not realize is the needle does not hurt,” Appleman said. “The prick on your thumb at the beginning of the drive hurts more than when the needle is inserted into the vein. Another misconception is that it takes a long time to get your blood drawn, when the initial process takes a total of three to five minutes. The recovery is what makes it take longer.”

American Red Cross account manager Michelle Johnson says the reason the United States is running low on blood is due to the stress of the pandemic and people’s unwillingness to donate.

“Less than 3% of the population donates blood,” Johnson said. “That, and the fact that Covid has slowed the process as well means we are in dire need of donors. Blood types like O positive and O negative have less than half a day's worth in store.”

Johnson said many people are misinformed when it comes to how much blood people can donate within a year.

“Many think that donating blood once a year is all that their body can withstand,” Johnson said. “In reality, the average person can donate blood every 56 days. Blood has a shelf life of 45 days, so this could really help a lot of people if we just had the donations to use.”

Appleman and Johnson said they would like to thank everyone who came to the drives and remind the Southeast community more blood drives will be held in the future. Donating is easy, and one pint of blood is enough to save three lives. More Information on blood drives can be found on this website.