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Blood donations are down and recruiters are getting creative

Donors will also receive the COVID antibodies test.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Blood donations are down as a result of the pandemic, but this doesn’t mean the need is not there.  

Local 24 News Reporter, Brittani Moncrease, spoke with Vitalant to see what creatives approaches they’re taking to get people to donate. 

Thanks to our neighbors on Nextdoor, we got the heads up about how blood drives are helping with the pandemic. From the closing of businesses to churches, it has all come down hard on blood donations. 

“That’s kind of the perfect storm as far as decreasing our blood donations because all those places where we would normally be, the people are not there anymore,” said Erskine Gillespie, Vitalant Donor Recruitment Representative. 

The biggest hit has been the schools. And they have had to get creative meeting the public at home. 

“Just from our schools alone, we’ve seen over 38-percent decrease in our blood donations,” said Gillespie, "Going to neighborhoods. Trying to connect with HOA. Our hospitals have really stepped up…having more blood drives than they normally would have throughout the year."

Normally when you donate blood, your blood goes through a number of tests to make sure it is safe. Our neighbors on Nextdoor shared that Vitalant has recently added the COVID-19 antibodies test.  

“One of the main reasons we wanted to do that was to help with the COVID crisis. While we’re drawing the blood, if we can take the time to test that blood for the antibodies, then that’s a way to identify convalescent plasma donors,” said Gillespie.

They've begun the test in hopes donor blood could help another person battling the virus.

“There is no substitution for blood. Man has created a lot of things, but the has not created a substitution for blood,” said Gillespie. “Our main focus is really not to get people to donate because of the free COVID test. We want people to donate because it’s the best and right thing to do to help your fellow citizens.” 

Some neighborhoods have hosted their own safe and social distancing blood drives. Braystone Park neighborhood in Collierville will be hosting their third September 24th.  

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