Military Seeks Blood Donors to Help Combat Shortage

Military Seeks Blood Donors to Help Combat Shortage

soldier giving blood
Photo by: U.S. Army Reserve/1st Lt. Chantel Baul

Military officials are asking for blood donors to step forward in the new year.

“Blood supply is critically low across the nation,” Col. Audra Taylor, the Armed Services Blood Program’s division chief, said in a press release. The program provides blood products to service members, their families, retirees and veterans around the world.

Donations typically drop during the holiday and winter months, Taylor said, especially as people go on leave or vacation.

This year, like last year, the decline in donations is exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety restrictions that come with it, Taylor said.

“There is no substitute for blood,” Taylor said in the press release. “It’s a critical tool in saving lives.”

The Armed Services Blood Program ensures military medical centers, hospitals and clinics have immediate and easy access to safe and viable blood and blood products, according to the press release. This includes whole blood, red blood cells, platelets and plasma.

“But it’s not possible for ASBP to fulfill its mission if not for our donors,” Taylor said in the press release.

Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, also called on donors to contribute.

“Adequate blood supplies are a critical part of a ready medical force,” he said in the press release. “Our medical providers must have everything they need to complete their mission, including blood.”

He added that a donation can be done in just an hour, yielding “lifesaving blood products for surgical procedures, traumatic injuries, chronic illness and cancer treatment.”

Armed Services Blood Program donor centers are located across the U.S. and around the world. For more information or to find a blood drive or donor center, click here.