Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent winter storms S.W. Oklahoma is facing a serious, more like critical blood shortage in the state. The OBI (Oklahoma Blood Institute) is asking for your help. Going on today at the Great Plains Coliseum 920 S.W. Sheridan Road from 10:00am until 4:00pm the OBI will be holding a blood drive. All persons are encouraged to donate if at all possible.

The blood supply faces constant need and requires replenishing regularly. Blood and blood products have a shelf life and are perishable. Meaning if blood donors don't donate, the supply runs out. The need for blood is great and it's uses in various medical applications are invaluable. From life saving transfusions in emergency situations, surgeries of all types, cancer treatments and more. By donating you're literally helping to save a life, possibly a friend, family member or neighbor.

Sustained winter weather has drained a blood supply already strained from COVID-19 related cancellations and closures. As a result, Oklahoma Blood Institute is experiencing an emergency need for blood donations of all types. “A single day of winter weather is manageable. More than a week of sustained winter weather is devastating to the blood supply,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “We need eligible donors to donate immediately in order to ensure blood is on the shelves for Oklahomans who need it.”

Due to winter weather, donations have been dramatically reduced, during a time when blood drives are already struggling with consistent collections due to COVID-19 related cancellations. Blood has no substitute and is perishable, with a shelf life of just 42 days. Blood supplies must be constantly replenished. The Oklahoma Blood Institute provides more than 90% of the blood to the state, requiring 1,200 donors each day to keep a healthy supply of blood on the shelf.

Donors should visit OBI.org or call 877-340-8777 to schedule an appointment. Most adults 16+ and in good health can donate, in a process that takes about an hour. Those who have received the most common COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) CAN donate without a deferral period. Those who have received other vaccinations must wait two weeks before donating. “Our generous donors have always stepped up when the need is great,” Armitage said. “We’re counting on them now, as we face a period of historic weather and pandemic-related challenges. At a time of great need, every single unit matters.”

Oklahoma Blood Institute is the 6th-largest independent blood center in the nation, providing more than 90% of Oklahoma’s blood supply to over 140 hospitals and medical facilities. For more information, visit obi.org.

If you're able to stop by the Great Plains Coliseum today and donate. The blood drive is going on now until 4:00pm today.

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