The coronavirus outbreak has led to just about every event getting canceled or postponed, and unfortunately, that includes many community blood drives. Recently, the American Red Cross said that the country is facing a serious blood shortage due to thousands of blood drive cancellations. That means countless patients who need blood for various medical conditions could face major problems getting the care they need to get healthy.
“We need people to start turning out in force to give blood,” said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, and director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams also stated, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”
Is It Safe to Donate Blood Right Now?
Some may be concerned about the safety of giving blood in the middle of this health crisis.
“There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus including this coronavirus,” reads a statement on the Red Cross’ website.
Additionally, those hosting blood drives are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of donors, including wearing gloves and changing them often, cleaning down donor-touched areas after each collection, using sterile collection kits for each donation, increasing disinfecting of all surfaces and equipment, requiring appointments for donors who want to give blood to limit crowding and support social distancing, and ensuring donors who want to give are healthy and haven’t traveled recently.
Upcoming Blood Drives
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has multiple upcoming blood drives scheduled in the coming weeks. Appointments are required to ensure proper social distancing is maintained by limiting crowds. Upcoming Red Cross blood drives include:
- Friday, April 24, 12-6 pm (2700 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77098)
- Thursday, May 7, 12-6 pm (2700 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77098)
- Friday, May 8, 10 am – 3 pm (2700 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77098)
Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center
The Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center regularly hosts mobile blood drives at businesses, schools, churches, and other locations throughout the area. They are urging healthy Houstonians to donate to help maintain their blood bank’s supply during these uncertain times. Online appointments are required.
Their next blood drive will take place Wednesday, April 22 from 8 am – 12 pm at 3200 Wilcrest Dr. Click here for more info and to schedule an appointment to give.
Due to their response to COVID-19, MD Anderson is accepting blood donations by appointment only at their Blood Donor Center locations. Anyone who has traveled internationally or outside the state of Texas in the last 14 days will not be able to donate.
Here’s where you can schedule an appointment to donate blood through MD Anderson:
- Blood Donor Center (Holly Hall)–2555 Holly Hall St., Houston, TX 77054. Open Tues-Thurs 10 am – 6 pm, Fri-Mon 10 am – 5 pm
- Blood Donor Center (Holcombe)–1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030. This location is only open to MD Anderson employees working on campus for platelet donations by appointment only. Mon-Fri 10 am – 5 pm.
Know of any other upcoming blood drives in Houston? Share them by commenting below.