Back to Top Skip to main content

Need for blood donations constant despite COVID-19

Medical soldiers from the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, host a blood drive at Fort Bliss, Texas. The need for donated blood is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Cindi King) Medical soldiers from the 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, host a blood drive at Fort Bliss, Texas. The need for donated blood is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. Cindi King)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus

The Military Health System is calling healthy donors to a vital and crucial task: help maintain the blood supply to meet current and future patient needs. The demand for blood from donations never goes away, even in the midst of a global pandemic. As local and state governments limit or ban public gatherings in response to COVID-19, the risk to the blood supply is top of mind for many in the health care community.

As of March 17, nearly 2,700 blood drives have been canceled across the nation, according to the American Red Cross, resulting in some 86,000 fewer blood donations. The Armed Services Blood Program has also experienced cancellations in blood drives currently scheduled on military installations. While the ASBP is able to meet current demands for blood products this week, “we all know that support can change overnight during this emergency,” said Army Col. Audra L. Taylor, ASBP division chief.

Donated blood products have a limited shelf life, which means continued blood donations are needed to replenish the supply and meet potential demand. Donated platelets have a shelf life of five days and whole blood donations remain viable for 21 or 35 days, explained Taylor, who said that while there may or may not be a huge demand for blood among coronavirus patients today, there are still patients within the Military Health System, such as trauma patients, cancer patients, and sickle cell patients, who need blood products.

“The blood we collected last week will impact people’s lives a week or two from now,” said Army Col. Jason Corley, director of the Army Blood Program. “In addition to meeting the needs of patients within the Military Health System and medical treatment facilities, we still have a responsibility to send necessary blood products to support the combatant commands,” Corley added.

Donating blood is safe and there is no known risk of coronavirus transmission by blood or blood component transfusion, Corley pointed out. “This is consistent with what we have seen in other respiratory illness, like SARS and even with the flu.”

According to Taylor the ASBP, in alignment with other agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and AABB, has issued and implemented a list of guidelines to ensure the continued safety of the blood collection process in light of current circumstances. Some of those guidelines include:

• All staff participating in blood drives will be screened for general health through a temperature check

• All donors will have their temperatures checked before entering the blood collection area for registration

• Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be readily available for staff and donors to use at collection sites

• Donors will be kept at least 6 feet apart to maintain social-distancing recommendations while donating blood

• All reusable items, such as pens, donor beds, and clipboards, will be disinfected upon use

• Mobile blood centers will limit the number of personnel to maintain social distancing to the greatest extent possible

• Blood drives will limit the number of donors being processed at one time.

“We would encourage donors to [first] do a self-assessment and make sure they are healthy and eligible to donate,” said Corley. “We have put processes in place to keep the blood donation process safe and mitigate any viral transmission. [For example] there are two opportunities for checking a donor’s temperature before donating blood. And the donor is questioned at the time of donation regarding general health and medical conditions.”

Those able to donate blood can visit the ASBP website to find a local blood drive center and learn about upcoming donation drives and open-door hours. The ASBP will continue to monitor blood donor centers and transfusion services daily as it seeks to encourage blood donations across military installations.

“During this time, it is imperative that blood donations continue with the ASBP or any civilian blood collection agency,” said Taylor. “There are so many patients who still need blood products and rely on the generosity of our blood donors.”

You also may be interested in...

Navy PA continues to care for COVID-19 caregivers

Article
11/19/2020
Three soldiers, wearing masks, demonstrating a hearing test

As a PAt, Osborn works hand-in-hand with supervising physicians and surgeons.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

NICoE & ISC Network maintain TBI care during COVID-19

Article
11/19/2020
Image of United States map with locations noted

The Network leveraged their geographic distribution to help each other quickly adapt to changing times.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Traumatic Brain Injury

San Antonio volunteers sought for Warp Speed vaccine trials

Article
11/18/2020
Woman typing on laptop

DOD sites are open on a voluntary basis to Military Health System beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

Army combat medic earns U.S. citizenship, plans to continue serving

Article
11/18/2020
Two men wearing masks, one in a car, one leaning in the car

The native of Brazil is part of the COVID-19 testing team.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Army doctors provide COVID-19 safety tips for the holiday season

Article
11/17/2020
Soldiers wearing masks, looking at flight information in airport

Celebrating the holidays during a pandemic may bring additional challenges for people this year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | November Toolkit | November Holidays and Observances

Military Health System participating in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Article
11/17/2020
Woman measuring out a vaccine into a needle

How you can help test the vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DHA leaders recognize CCP collection campaign contributors & donors

Article
11/16/2020
Three military personnel in uniform, wearing masks, in front of flags

The ceremony honored those who contributed to exceeding the goal of collecting 10,000 units of COVID-19 convalescent plasma.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

NMRTU Everett staff collaborate to ensure Patient Centered Care

Article
11/16/2020
Image of two military personnel wearing masks

NMRTU Everett was commended by the MHS 2020 Advancement towards High Reliability Healthcare Awards Program as a Patient Centeredness Award winner.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus

Holiday Season Guidance to Minimize Spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Publication
11/16/2020

This memorandum provides guidance to help protect individuals within the DoD community from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for gatherings and activities during the November to January holiday season.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Naval Medical Forces Pacific’s commander tours NH Twentynine Palms

Article
11/12/2020
Four military personnel in uniform, wearing masks

Weber was briefed on the implementation of MHS GENESIS...and the hospital's response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Forging of civil-military anvil against COVID-19 focus at GHSA

Article
11/9/2020
U.S. and Thai soldiers stand together during a medical exercise.

“Defense partnerships around the world are key.”

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement

Wave PENDLETON sees more MTFs deploy new electronic health record

Article
11/5/2020
Military technician, wearing a mask, in front of a computer screen

Wave PENDLETON is the third major deployment of MHS GENESIS.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

BAMC, Argentine Army medical providers share COVID-19 best practices

Article
11/4/2020
Video teleconference image

U.S. Army South facilitated the virtual subject matter expert (SME) exchange between BAMC and CMMH.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Technology | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Public Health | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

How Can Vaccine and Antibody Studies Move So Quickly and Still Be Safe?

Video
11/3/2020
How Can Vaccine and Antibody Studies Move So Quickly and Still Be Safe?

This video provides a detailed overview of the processes that have been implemented to accelerate the pace of the COVID-19 vaccine and antibody studies, and what is being done to assure safety.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Importance of Enrolling Diverse Participants in COVID-19 Studies

Video
11/3/2020
The Importance of Enrolling Diverse Participants in COVID-19 Studies

This video discusses why enrolling diverse participants in COVID-19 studies is critical for ensuring that, when we find a vaccine, we have enough data from populations who are most affected by COVID-19 to determine vaccine safety and efficacy.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 20

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.