Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

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...

After the ventilator COVID survivor advocates for vaccine

Article Around MHS
9/15/2021
Tim Harris is sedated while on a ventilator

Tim Harris, a mobilization and planning specialist, U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, is sedated while on a ventilator at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, June 27, 2020.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Army Medicine Europe Provides Additional COVID Vaccinations for Immune Compromised

Article Around MHS
9/13/2021
Franz Dietrich, a German local national assigned to Training Support Activity Europe, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the 7th Army Training Command's (7ATC) Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, May 4, 2021. The U.S. Army Health Clinics at Grafenwoehr and Vilseck conducted a "One Community" COVID-19 vaccine drive May 3-7 to provide thousands of appointments to the 7ATC community of Soldiers, spouses, Department of the Army civilians, veterans and local nationals employed by the U.S. Army. (U.S. Army photo by Markus Rauchenberger)

Army medical treatment facilities in Europe are now offering an additional dose of COVID vaccine for immune compromised beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Infographic
8/27/2021
If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Vaccine Eligibility | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask | Deployment Health

CSM Gragg Vaccine Statement

Video
8/24/2021
CSM Gragg speaks about COVID-19

CSM Gragg shares his personal story dealing with COVID and the loss associated with it and urges all to take precautions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Military Health System Transformation

Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

Video
8/16/2021
Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, on days that end in ‘6.’ It includes the latest information about DOD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

Video
8/16/2021
DHA Logo with the text: Importance of Vaccinations Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place & Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg

DHA Director Lt. Gen. Ron Place and DHA Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg talk about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is more important than ever.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Don't Hesitate: Vaccinate Today for School

Article
8/13/2021
A boy gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Back to School Means Vaccine Time

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health | Immunizations | TRICARE Health Program
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 34

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.