Photo Credits: Nicki Padar / Aggie File.
Need for donations increases as COVID-19 pandemic continues
UC Davis partnered with Vitalant and the Red Cross to hold two blood drives on campus from May 21–22 and 28–29. Unlike past blood drives, students interested in donating made appointments in advance to increase safety precautions.
In addition to regular partnership with Vitalant, the Red Cross had a donation bus on campus. The Red Cross has been holding regular blood drives at UC Davis’ Sacramento campus throughout the pandemic.
Students participating were required to wear face coverings. Each testing station was at least six feet apart to minimize health and safety risks.
“Blood donation continues to be essential, especially during this pandemic,” said Chancellor Gary May via email. “Giving blood is a wonderful way to help others while remaining physically distant and following county health guidelines. Every pint of blood can save up to three lives, and the need for blood is ever-present — one pint every two seconds.”
According to the Red Cross, the number of blood donations has decreased dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help ensure the safety of donors and staff, the Red Cross implemented numerous precautions including taking staff and donors’ temperatures before donations, providing hand sanitizer, requiring appointments and increasing disinfection procedures.
Jerome Michael Adams, the U.S. surgeon general, released a statement encouraging the public to consider donating blood.
“Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement,” Adams said. “You can still go out and give blood.”
In addition to increased safety and health precautions, the FDA is also relaxing its stance on men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood.
Currently, MSM are unable to donate blood without abstaining from sex for at least 12 months. In the past, MSM were completely ineligible from donating.
“None of us able to donate blood should take for granted what a privilege it is and what a difference we can make,” May said in a statement. “I look forward to the day when all who want to give blood and can do so safely are allowed to give this generous gift.”
The FDA recently released a statement addressing its change on the 40-year restriction.
“At the FDA, we want to do everything we can to encourage more blood donations, which includes revisiting and updating some of our existing policies to help ensure we have an adequate blood supply, while still protecting the safety of our nation’s blood supply,” the statement said.
MSM are now only required to abstain from sex for three months before donating blood, instead of 12.
Written by: Ally Russell — firstname.lastname@example.org