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Blood Donations Are Running Dry As Demand Rises

a forearm with a needle inserted into the vein. the hand is wearing a latex glove and holding a squishy red ball
A donor gives at a blood drive held this week at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library.
(Chris Carlson/AP)
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The pandemic forced many blood banks to cancel donation drives. Now, blood supplies are running low. Demand for blood is surging as people schedule surgeries and other medical procedures they had delayed during the height of pandemic.

Red Cross L.A. spokesperson Marilyn Jimenez said in the last three months, they've distributed 75,000 more blood products across the region than expected, and the supply of O positive, the most common blood type, is about a tenth of what it should be.

The American Red Cross is asking for the public's help to replenish those supplies.

"Summer is traditionally a time when blood donations decline but this year is particularly challenging as people are returning to their pre-pandemic activities. So we really want to remind the public to remember the needs of patients this summer," Jimenez says.

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Anyone who is fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus with one of the three vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States — Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson — is eligible to donate. People who have recovered from COVID-19 can also give blood, but only if they've been symptom-free for at least two weeks.

For more information on donating blood in Southern California, visit the Red Cross website.