The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


American Red Cross facing national blood shortage

In a statement released on September 11, the American Red Cross announced that they are in urgent need of donations. Their supply depleted by 25% after a natural disaster and a dip in donations over the summer.

When Hurricane Idalia landed in August, the American Red Cross had to cancel over a dozen blood drives and abandon hundreds of donations.

Then over the summer, less people donated, further draining the supply. Blood is needed in a continuous supply.

The organization supplies 40% of blood and blood components in the United States. They require 12,500 donations each day to meet demand.

This is a critical shortage, meaning there are only about three to four days worth of blood on shelves.

Amanda Merchant is the Donor Recruitment Manager at Vitalant Blood Donation Center in Hattiesburg. Merchant shed light on how the Red Cross shortage impacts blood donations at all levels.

“The Red Cross is similar to us,” she said. “When the Red Cross has a shortage, we have a shortage.”

When hospitals run out of blood, they reach out to local blood banks for emergency supplies. If the hospitals and the blood banks are both out, it could mean many patients going without critical treatment.

“We say three to four, but that may mean if someone comes in and needs additional amounts of blood, that blood could go quickly and then there’s none on the shelf for those that need it afterwards,” Merchant added.

People can donate at any local blood bank or local blood drive. Vitalant’s website allows people to schedule appointments online, or they can call (877) 258-4825.

The Red Cross accepts donation appointments via the Red Cross Donor App,, or by calling 1-800-733-2767.

Donors must be 16 to 17-years old or older, weigh at least 110 pounds, and generally healthy. Contrary to popular belief, people with high-blood pressure, anemia, and certain other conditions and use certain medications can still donate blood.

People with tattoos and piercings from state-regulated tattoo parlors can donate as well.

People who have had COVID-19 for over 10 days with little to no symptoms can donate. People who recently got the COVID-19 vaccine or booster can also donate.

Before donating, donors should eat and stay hydrated.

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