COLORADO SPRINGS — Nationwide, hospitals and blood banks are facing a critical blood shortage, and here is no different.

“It’s due to many reasons,” said Brooke Way, communications manager for Vitalant. “We are still coming out of the pandemic, a lot of our blood drives are canceling because of COVID still.”

Among other reasons including staffing shortages, Vitalant said a big concern is that we’re heading into summer.

A donor donates blood at the Austin Bluffs Vitalant.

“It’s a really hard time for blood donation because people are traveling, they’re spending time outside, donating blood is not at the top of mind for them,” Way said.

While all blood types are needed, there is especially a demand for type O-negative blood.

“O-negative is the universal donor, so that’s what those emergency room personnel reach for first when there’s no time to test someone’s blood type,” Way said.

The shortage of blood doesn’t stop there.

According to Vitalant, blood has a short shelf-life, which is why so much of it is needed.

“Cancer patients going through chemotherapy treatment, they rely on platelet donations and burn victims rely on plasma donations,” Way said. “So, there are so many different ways to donate and so many patients that really benefit from the life source that is a blood donation.”

Vitalant understands one of the biggest deterrents to giving blood is the needle.

“If someone’s a little squeamish, someone’s never given before, we really say give it a try,” Way said. “It is so easy and painless. Our phlebotomists know how to make you as comfortable as possible.”

Vitalant is currently running a promotion — everyone who donates now through July 20th will be entered to win one of three, three-thousand-dollar pre-paid gift cards.

“It’s a fun way, you know, you can win some extra spending money by also saving a life right now which is really important.”

Way stressed that even though we are in a blood shortage, appointments are required if you would like to donate.