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Belgian Red Cross calls for new donors as flu and Covid disrupt blood supplies
The Belgian Red Cross is currently experiencing a sharp drop in the number of blood donations and is appealing for new donors to boost supplies, reports RTBF.
“Since the Easter holidays and even a little before, we have witnessed a drop of 20 to 25% in collections”, confirms communication manager Thomas Paulus.
Stocks of negative blood groups are particularly affected, but if the current situation persists or worsens, a generalised shortage cannot be ruled out.
"We don't really know the reasons for this decrease in donations, but we can assume that Covid plays a role", says Paulus. “There are still 9,000 coronavirus contaminations per day at present, not to mention the resurgence of flu cases. This means that many people are sick and will therefore avoid going to a centre to donate blood.
Flanders also launches appeal
The Belgian Red Cross in Flanders has similarly put out an urgent appeal for new donors, also citing a shortage due to the current health situation.
Since the beginning of 2022, there have been 15% more cancellations of appointments to donate blood compared to the same period last year, Belga News Agency reports.
Four out of five donors who cancel cite illness as the reason, usually concerning the flu or the coronavirus.
The Flemish agency also needs donations from the negative blood groups in order to replenish the low blood supply, as these reserves are at a very low level.
The Belgian Red Cross website currently displays a warning that supplies are low. When it comes to A-, B-, O-, O+ and B in particular, the agency says reserves are scarce.
“Our blood stocks for these blood groups are critical,” the organisation says.
“The outlook is very poor. Without your help, we will no longer be able to meet the demand from hospitals. We are relying on your generosity to raise our blood stocks as quickly as possible.”
People wishing to donate can do so at official collection points, with or without an appointment, depending on their location.