The New York Blood Center has issued an emergency appeal for blood donations due to what they’re calling a nationwide blood shortage.
Next Tuesday, June, 7, locals can help combat the shortage by participating in a community blood drive at the Riverhead Fire Department.
Lauren Reichel, a chairperson for the effort, said the drives currently scheduled aren’t enough to meet the current needs of patients in the area.
“They don’t have enough blood drives scheduled for what they already have in demand that they know of, never mind accidents and things that come in an emergency,” she said.
Ms. Reichel said blood banks typically face shortages around the end of July or August but can count on supplies from other areas. This shortage has come earlier than expected and blood from surrounding areas may not be enough, she said.
The reason for the shortage and its widespread nature is unclear, Ms. Reichel said. Potential donors are disqualified if they have recently gotten a tattoo, are on antibiotics or even if they have been to an area where the Zika virus is present. These circumstances can contribute to a shorter than normal supply, she said.
The blood drive will take place Tuesday, June 7, from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Riverhead Fire Department, 540 Roanoke Ave. Donors must be between 16 and 76 years old, with parental permission required for 16-year-olds. Donors must also have a valid ID and weigh at least 110 pounds. They cannot have received any tattoos in the past 12 months.
To further meet demand, the blood center is also looking for potential sponsors for more drives to be held this summer.