JEFFERSON — To help replenish what’s described as the worst blood supply shortage in 30 years, Citizens for a Better Community of Jefferson will host a blood drive from 2 to 7 p.m., Thursday, at the Jefferson Tourism and Visitor Center.
The drive, held in support of Carter BloodCare blood bank, will be hosted in the banquet hall of the visitor center, located at 305 E. Austin St.
“The pandemic shutdown of schools, businesses and places of worship has dragged on 15 months,” said Linda Goelzer, public relations director for Carter BloodCare. “As masks are peeling off, the blood supply remains in dire straits across North, Central and East Texas.
“The shortage is described as the worst seen in 30 years, by longtime blood banking professionals,” she said. “This summer — a traditionally slow season for blood donations — Carter BloodCare strongly urges Texans to give blood for other Texans.”
The blood drive comes as the June 14 global commemoration of World Blood Donor Day approaches.
“Annually, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) June 14, to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products everywhere,” Goelzer noted. “During the month in which we celebrate safe blood and honor our dads, Carter BloodCare applauds the volunteers who give with their blood to save others’ lives.”
All blood types are needed in the event of emergencies, surgeries, and in trauma situations. Goelzer noted before there are still patients who are getting transfusions on a regular basis and will need blood products.
“Hospital demand is up as surgery schedules are extending in some cities and blood donations simply are not keeping pace,” said Goelzer. “Procedures postponed at the height of the pandemic are now being worked into an already packed schedule. Blood donation is more important than ever to help rebuild the blood supply.”
Goelzer noted that potential donors may volunteer beginning at age 16 with parental consent; 17-year-olds may give independently and there is no upper age limit for donating blood. Donors who have had a COVID-19 vaccination are still eligible to give.
The blood center will not require proof of vaccination, however, donors who are not fully vaccinated will have to comply with all mask policies at the blood drive locations.
“Individuals who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear a face mask at Carter BloodCare blood drives or donation centers. You may choose to wear a face covering and masks will be available for donors who request them,” Goelzer advised. “Donors who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing a mask except when temperature is taken, or when eating and drinking after the donation.”
Potential donors are reminded to eat a nutritious meal and drink plenty of water at least an hour before giving blood. All donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, feel well on the day of donation, and present a government-issued photo ID each time they donate.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for Thursday’s blood drive in Jefferson, call Rachel Vance at (903) 601-2230. Appointments can also be made by calling 1-800-366-2834 or by visiting carterbloodcare.org
To further help restore the blood supply, Carter BloodCare urges recipients to share their testimonies at carterbloodcare.org/tellusyourstory/ through the month of June in order to inspire others to give.
“Carter BloodCare believes personal stories are powerful ways to encourage someone to give blood,” said Goelzer.