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news News Thursday, June 25, 2020 Thursday, June 25, 2020 10:50 AM - Thursday, June 25, 2020 10:50 AM

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California hosts employee blood drive

Helping build critically low national blood supply

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California hosts employee blood drive

One side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a dramatic reduction in the nation’s blood supply. Blood supplies across the nation are critically low. Available blood supply is crucial for medical care, including burn treatment, complex orthopaedic needs, and other operations that are performed on a regular basis at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California.

This is why Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California teamed up with its long-term blood supplier, Vitalant, to host an employee blood drive at the hospital on June 23.

Vitalant is the largest independent nonprofit blood collector in the U.S.

“Sufficient blood supply is critically important to medical care, including the care we provide here at Shriners [Hospitals] on a regular basis,” said Chris Thomas, director of professional services for Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California, and a member of the team that organized the blood drive. “When Vitalant informed us that their national blood reserves were critically low, we invited our staff to donate, and the willingness to help was overwhelming.”

The blood drive took place in the hospital auditorium, with social distancing precautions in place. Healthy employees were invited to donate blood, and to schedule a donation time online. Fifty-four employees successfully donated blood during the hospital blood drive.

Vitalant will test every blood donation for standard infection diseases, and will also test each sample for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Donors will be able to learn their test antibody results about two weeks following their donation via a private online login. 

Vitalant recently began testing all of its nationwide blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Vitalant was one of the first national blood banks to do so. 

“We recognize that the current blood shortage affects patients locally and nationwide,” said Mr. Thomas. “Our hospital was eager to come together and do our part in combating this blood shortage.”

Male staff member giving blood