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Multiple Countries Experience Blood Shortages Due to COVID-19

Posted on Apr 02, 2020 by Colleen Holtkamp

Blood Shortages Experienced Due to COVID-19

Headlines such as “China's blood donations dry up as coronavirus outbreak quells giving” illustrate the alarming potential of a pandemic to negatively impact the global blood supply. News stories continue to highlight the challenges to the blood supply presented by COVID-19. Countries such as China, Italy, South Korea, and the United States are facing shortages. Unfortunately, donations have declined as measures such as social distancing and travel restrictions have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a document called “Maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply during the pandemic outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).” It discusses managing the demand for blood products, and describes the following factors that may impact the blood supply during the pandemic:

“During widespread transmission, demand for blood and components may decrease as the health care system shifts toward treating increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients and elective surgeries and non-urgent clinical interventions are deferred. But blood transfusions will still be necessary for emergency situations such as trauma, post-partum haemorrhage, severe infant anaemia, blood dyscrasias, and urgent surgeries requiring availability of blood. Increased stocks may also be needed to support COVID-19 patients with severe sepsis or requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support.”

Maintaining an adequate blood supply has never been more important. Blood centers are implementing specific safety measures to ensure that donors and blood center staff are not exposed to the virus. One example is the Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service. The International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) recently hosted a webinar called “Can we secure the blood supply in COVID-19? The Hong Kong experience,” which describes the blood service’s safety measures and communication strategy to support public confidence.

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Helmer Scientific supports blood centers and hospitals, the patients they serve, and their efforts to keep the blood supply safe. We would like to express our gratitude to all staff involved in collecting, processing, and transfusing blood therapies to treat patients and save lives. We are here to help you properly store and monitor your blood products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blood donations are needed now more than ever. Outside the United States, contact your health ministry or national blood service to find out where to donate.  In the U.S., follow the link below to find out where blood is collected in your community.

Where to Donate Blood »


China's blood donations dry up as coronavirus outbreak quells giving

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Colleen Holtkamp

Written by Colleen Holtkamp

Helmer designs, manufactures, and markets specialized medical and laboratory equipment to customers in more than 125 countries. With an extensive background in Helmer products, Colleen’s focus is on the Clinical Laboratory and Blood Bank segments.

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