10,000 units needed: Red Cross encouraging blood donations ahead of possibly severe flu season

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — With a severe flu season predicted this winter, the American Red Cross is fearful of problems resulting from an already short supply of blood.

“It’s a very severe issue right now, and that’s why we’re putting out this plea to ask people to please come out and donate,” Mandy McWherter, communications director for American Red Cross, said.

McWherter said the organization is very concerned about its blood supply. When seasonal illnesses increase, the number of healthy blood donors tends to decrease, she said. 

“We’re already in an emergency blood shortage, and we’re afraid that the flu season could further exacerbate that problem,” she said.

McWherter said this is the time of year when the blood supply usually bounces back. However, she said the organization is still trying to recover from this summer’s shortage.

“The last thing we’d want to do is to turn down hospital orders for blood,” McWherter said. “Over the next few weeks, we have to collect an additional 10,000 units of blood nationwide to help overcome the shortage.”

To encourage more people to donate, the Red Cross is offering incentives, including $10 Amazon gift cards during November.

“All of these things compounded are a really big challenge for the Red Cross, which is again why we’re putting out this messaging early before the flu season really kicks off,” she said.

McWherter also said a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status has no impact on eligibility to donate blood.

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