It’s a crucial moment for the city’s blood bank. A shortage has the New York Blood Center pleading with New Yorkers to go out and donate.
Michele Lariviere, the recruitment director for the New York Blood Center, says the city has seen a drastic drop in donations in the last 6 weeks.
“Currently there is one day supply of O blood types which is used in most emergency situations,” Lariviere said Wednesday, adding the center prefers “to have a 5-7 day supply of every blood type.”
April was especially slow with students on spring break and other holidays, Lariviere explained. And as COVID cases ticked up thanks to a new variant, fewer and fewer New Yorkers were coming in to donate.
“A lot of people are just not coming out to donate,” Lariviere added.
Two New Yorkers who donated blood at a Jacobi Medical Center blood drive Wednesday, 24-year-old Emily Yamron and 25-year-old Rayshall Raeford, say donating blood in high school established a habit that has kept them rolling up their sleeves for nearly 10 years.
“It feels good that I helped somebody that needed it,” said Raeford.
“I think I was particularly eager to make sure I made my appointment and got in today, even though I was kind of busy, because I know that it is important given how short all the hospitals are on blood” added Yamron.
Lariviere says that donations in all donor centers have been down, but school donations are crucial to the city’s blood supply. About 25% of blood comes from school drives.
During the pandemic the number of organizations taking part in blood drives was reduced and now blood centers are feeling the impact.
“We lost a lot of our brand new donors and that has a compounding effect because now those donors who didn’t get that experience in high school are not donating now,” said Lariviere.
But for those that still come out like Yamron, donating blood is a way to help out during some of those most challenging times our city has faced.
“It’s something where if everyone pitches in a little we can all make a big impact,” said Yamron.