‘We like to have a 3-day blood supply on our shelves, and right now we only have a one-day blood supply.’ | Blood banks face critical levels, how you can help on World Blood Donor Day.

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Monday is World Blood Donor Day, and this year it is important, if you’re able, to roll up your sleeves and donate. Marsh Regional Blood Center is holding a blood drive event at each of its Tri-Cities locations to combat critical blood shortages.

“We have been down consistently for the past several months and that’s actually a nationwide trend, so the nation is headed to a very critical blood supply,” said Steffanie Suckel, Dir. Marsh Regional Blood Center.

The pandemic, paired with other factors, has slowed down donations.

“Typically we do see summer and around holidays it slows down because people are on vacations and they’re enjoying the weather, not necessarily thinking about donating blood,” said Suckel. “The best way to prepare for any emergency is to have enough blood on the shelves. And right now Marsh is at critical levels, we like to have a 3-day blood supply on our shelves, and right now we only have a one-day blood supply.”

The shelves for O blood at the Marsh Blood Center in Kingsport stand near empty. The A and B shelves aren’t much better. O+ blood is extremely important because it can be given to any patient, no matter their blood type. Suckel says there is blood elsewhere in the hospitals, but the levels at the blood center are evident of their shortage.  

Suckel explained you can give blood after having Covid or the vaccine, but there is a waiting period. “If you’ve had your Covid vaccination, you need to wait 48 hours after each dose before donating blood. They can donate between the doses,” said Suckel. “If you’ve had Covid, you need to wait 14 days before you can come to donate blood.”

Anyone can donate blood as long as they meet certain health standards. “As long as you’re healthy and well and at least 17 years old and 110 pounds, you can come and donate.”

The process is simple: you fill out a short medical history form, they’ll weigh you to make sure you weigh enough, get your finger pricked to test for red blood cell levels and check your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Be sure to eat a full meal and drink plenty of water both before and after your donation.

Marsh Blood Center is holding a drive at each of its Tri-Cities locations on Monday. The centers will be open from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. You can make an appointment, but walk-ins are also welcome. Donors will get a special T-shirt and snack when they donate. Those who donate between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. will get a boxed lunch. Ballad is still requiring people wear masks on location.

There will be three locations for donors to give blood:

  • 111 W. Stone Dr., Suite 300, Kingsport
  • 2428 Knob Creek Road, Johnson City
  • 1996 W. State St., Bristol

If you cannot donate blood on Monday, Marsh Regional accepts appointments at all three locations in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City. Those phone numbers are 423-408-7500; 423-652-0014; and 423-282-7090, respectively.

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