FDA Urging People to Donate Blood as Coronavirus Fears Intensify

We Need People to Start Turning Out in Force to Give Blood”

FDA Urging People to Donate Blood as Coronavirus Fears Intensify

(Washington, DC – March 12, 2020) – “We need people to start turning out in force to give blood.” That urgent

call-to-action coming from Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as fear about the coronavirus is keeping people from wanting to

donate blood.

Over the past week, blood centers throughout the country are experiencing a significant drop in donations which

is limiting the ability for the nation’s blood supply to be adequately replenished.

“We need people to prevent the blood supply from getting depleted. We need it not to get to the point that

surgeries are having to get canceled.” That’s something we absolutely do not want to have happen. To ensure

an adequate blood supply we need people to come out and donate blood”, said Dr. Marks.

The coronavirus does not pose any known risk to blood donors during the donation process or from attending

blood drives.

“It is safe to donate blood,” said Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D. Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services. “Part of preparedness includes a robust blood supply. Healthy

individuals should schedule an appointment to donate today to ensure that blood is available for those patients

who need it,” said Giroir.

Blood centers are regulated by the FDA and must follow specific guidelines to ensure safe blood is available for

patients at all times.

The comments from the federal agencies come as the entire blood banking community is uniting in urging people

to donate blood and for organizations to keep hosting blood drives.

“Blood donors are needed now more than ever. We cannot wait for the situation to intensify further before taking

action. The blood supply cannot be taken for granted and the coronavirus only heightens the need for a ready

blood supply,” said Kate Fry, chief executive officer of America’s Blood Centers, the organization that represents

close to 50 blood centers throughout the U.S. and Canada who collect close to 60% of the nation’s blood supply.

“Blood drives across the country are being canceled. This is going to end up in an unprecedented situation if

we’re not careful,” said Chris Hrouda, president of Biomedical Services for the American Red Cross. “We are

doing everything in our power to ensure that we don’t get to a critical level of the blood supply. If we continue to

see blood drives cancel, we are going to reach a level of inventory of which we haven’t seen in the past,” said


“Blood is an essential part of health care and the need for blood is constant,” said Debra BenAvram, CEO of

AABB, the association that accredits the majority of blood banks in the United States. “In the United States, a

patient is treated with a blood transfusion every two seconds. This is only possible through the generosity of our

country’s volunteer blood donors. They are the heroes who make lifesaving treatment a reality,” said BenAvram.

The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP), the official blood collector of the U.S. Military, is also echoing the

call of its civilian counterparts. “As the U.S. Military’s official blood program, we always have a mission to standready. We are asking if you are able and eligible, consider donating. Take the time to help us stand missionready,” said Colonel Audra L. Taylor, ASBP Division Chief, Combat Support, Defense Health Agency.

The FDA has reiterated that there have been no reported or suspected cases of transfusion-transmitted

coronavirus and the virus poses no known risk to patients receiving blood transfusions.

About America’s Blood Centers

Founded in 1962, America’s Blood Centers is North America’s largest network of community-based, independent

blood centers. America’s Blood Centers represents nearly 50 blood centers throughout the United States and

Canada. The centers collect and distribute close to 60% of the nation’s blood supply and a quarter of the

Canadian blood supply. Together these blood centers serve more than 150 million people and provide blood

products and services to more than 3,500 hospitals and healthcare facilities across North America. Each year,

our members help save the lives of nearly three million patients. For more information visit


About American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about

40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports

military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers

and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please

visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

About AABB

AABB is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields

of transfusion medicine and biotherapies. The Association is committed to improving health through the

development and delivery of standards, accreditation and educational programs that focus on optimizing patient

and donor care and safety. AABB membership includes physicians, nurses, scientists, researchers,

administrators, medical technologists and other health care providers. AABB members are located in more than

80 countries and AABB accredits institutions in more than 50 countries.

About the Armed Services Blood Program

Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States

military. The ASBP’s mission is to provide quality blood products and services for all worldwide customers in

both peace and war. As a division in the Defense health Agency’s Combat Support Directorate, we focus on

equipping the warfighter with lifesaving blood and blood products needed on the battlefield as well as in military

treatment facilities. Working as a joint operation, the ASBP collects, processes, stores, and distributes blood and

blood products to service members and their families worldwide.

Since the ASBP’s inception, more than 1.5 million units of blood have been provided to treat battlefield illnesses

and injuries. While ASBP blood recipients are most often thought of as a deployed service member injured in

the line of duty, we also support the peacetime needs of military personnel and their families. Blood must be

available to military hospitals for scheduled and emergency procedures. Blood and blood products are used for

military patients of all ages for many reasons. Each unit is critical to the mission.

As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply,

the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts in times of need.

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