January blood donation drive aims for 10,000 donations in 7 days
Blood bank hopes to attract more young people and first-time donors during annual push
Catalonia's Blood and Tissue Bank (BST) is hoping to get 10,000 people, including 2,000 first-time donors, to give blood between January 8 and 15.
The annual new year blood donation drive comes at a time when reserves are low, explained Francesc Gòdia, president of the BST, at a press conference on Tuesday.
Donations always drop over the Christmas holidays but the sixth wave of the coronavirus pandemic has also had an impact, with people canceling appointments to give blood because they have tested positive for Covid-19 or are close contacts.
Giving blood saves lives, was the message from the mayors of Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona and Lleida, the latter three joining remotely. All four said they are convinced that the public will respond to the blood bank's call.
'Join generation D (for donors)' is this year's motto, aimed especially at first-time donors and young people. "You choose if you want to be part of it," the campaign says.
First-time donors will get a 'Rookie' badge, while those who have given blood more than 50 times will gain 'Legend' status.
"Every year we have a significant number of donors who stop giving blood due to age or illness and are replaced by new donors joining. We are interested in improving this and that is why it is important for young people to sign up," Gòdia said.
The BST president explained that the blood bank usually has about 10,000 units in their reserves, enough to deal with any requests from hospitals. Currently, however, there is about half that amount and that is why a call is being made, he said.
But, Gòdia added, thanks to blood donors, there has never been a shortage in Catalan hospitals, despite the challenges. In 2021 there were about 11,000 donations, even more than in 2019, as people responded to the increased demand from hospitals as they reintroduced operations postponed by the pandemic.
January 8 to 15
Because of the pandemic, appointments for giving blood can be made in advance, in order to avoid overcrowding at donation centers.
There will be around twenty mobile donation points around Catalonia, such as in the historic University of Barcelona building at Plaça Universitat, in addition to the usual donation points in hospitals.
People who test positive for Covid-19 are advised to wait about a month before giving blood, but nevertheless the blood bank stresses that the virus cannot be transmitted via blood.
More information on donating blood can be found at www.bancsang.net.