CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Fewer people are rolling up their sleeves to give blood in the Palmetto State and elsewhere, prompting a number of groups to issue a call for donors.
In South Carolina, blood donations over the past three weeks are down 10-15% compared to the same time last year, Amanda Henyan, the executive director of the American Red Cross’ Lowcountry chapter, said.
Other parts of the country are faring worse; in a joint news release, the Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers and the American Association of Blood Banks said some areas are seeing their lowest donor turnout in a year or more. The drop comes ahead of the summer, which the groups said is traditionally “a historically challenging time of year for blood collections.”
CLICK HERE to see a full list of blood drives across the region.
Henyan said there may be a number of reasons behind the drop, including people being more active for Spring Break and misinformation about giving blood after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
“In general, if you receive a COVID-19 vaccine you are eligible to donate blood. There is no deferment period,” she said. “We do ask that everyone know the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received and have that information with them when they come in.”
When people donate blood, the Red Cross is also testing that blood to see if the person has COVID-19 antibodies. If they do, plasma from that donation can then be used to treat severely ill COVID patients as well.
There are opportunities to give every day for the rest of the month in Charleston and other blood drives across the region as well.