Vitalant: Winter weather and illness drastically impact blood supply

Urging donors to give blood as soon as possible
Updated: Jan. 23, 2019 at 11:05 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Vitalant is currently experiencing a nationwide blood shortage, and they believe winter weather could be to blame.

They currently have less than half the amount of blood for their nationwide supply when it comes to type O blood. Vitalant strives to maintain a 40 day supply of type O blood.

As severe winter storms continue to traverse the country, and cold and flu season is in full swing. The one-two punch is hitting blood centers hard and drastically impacting community blood supplies. Severe weather can also lead to more accidents and an increased need for blood.

While currently there’s a critical need for platelets and type O blood donations, all blood types are needed. In emergency situations, when a patient’s blood type isn’t known, doctors reach for type O blood first until the patient can be stabilized.

Vitalant needs to collect 1,750 donations of all types per week to replenish the supply and meet the needs of area patients.

According to Vitalant, blood donations collected in late December and early January were down 47 percent compared to the first two weeks of December making it challenging to maintain an adequate blood supply.

To schedule an appointment to give blood, visits Vitalant online, or call 877-258-4825. Walk-in donors are always welcome.

“We typically see a drop in donations around this time of year because people are not only recovering from the holidays, many are also suffering from the flu and other illnesses,” said Danny Garrick, President of Vitalant, Southeast Division. “Add bad weather to the mix and it makes it extremely difficult to maintain an adequate blood supply for patients who need it.”

January is National Blood Donor Month, a critical time for new donors to step up and make blood donation a life-transforming habit.


  • Must be at least 16-years-old
  • Weigh at least 110 lbs.
  • Be in general good health

Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors 22 and younger, and donors who are 16 and 17 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian.

Information on this page was provided by Vitalant.

Copyright 2019 WAFB. All rights reserved.