The American Red Cross continues to experience a severe blood shortage that is negatively affecting blood product availability across the country. Donors of all blood types – especially type O and those giving platelets – are urged to make an appointment to give now and help ensure hospital shelves are stocked with blood products over the Fourth of July holiday and beyond.

As a thank you, all those who come to give July 1-6 will receive a Red Cross embroidered hat, while supplies last. And, donors who come to give July 7-31 will receive a $10 gift card by email, plus a chance to win gas for a year (a $5,000 value). (Terms and conditions apply; visit

Donors needed now

Right now, the Red Cross is working around the clock to provide blood products to hospitals responding to an unusually high number of traumas and emergency room visits, as well as overdoses and resulting transplants. As a result of the blood shortage, some hospitals are being forced to slow the pace of elective surgeries until the blood supply stabilizes, delaying crucial patient care.

In addition, while summer is traditionally a time when blood donations decline, this year is particularly challenging as many Americans receive their vaccinations and resume summer activities after more than a year of limited interactions and travel, leading to lower donor turnout. The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday break – patients still depend on lifesaving transfusions.

Donors are needed now to prevent further delays to patient care. Schedule an appointment to give blood now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.

In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.

About blood donation

To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.

Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Health insights for donors

At a time when health information has never been more important, the Red Cross is also screening all blood, platelet and plasma donations from self-identified African American donors for the sickle cell trait. This additional screening will provide Black donors with an additional health insight and help the Red Cross identify compatible blood types more quickly to help patients with sickle cell disease. Blood transfusion is an essential treatment for those with sickle cell disease, and blood donations from individuals of the same race, ethnicity and blood type have a unique ability to help patients fighting sickle cell disease.

Donors can expect to receive sickle cell trait screening results, if applicable, within one to two weeks through the Red Cross Blood Donor App and the online donor portal at

Blood drive safety

The Red Cross has updated its pandemic safety protocols in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Fully vaccinated individuals, including staff and donors, no longer need to wear masks or socially distance. Unvaccinated individuals continue to be required to wear masks and socially distance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services on part of VA.

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Published on Jun. 28, 2021

Estimated reading time is 3.4 min.

Views to date: 983


  1. Anne July 12, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    I live in Alaska. There are no Red Cross sites to go to in order to donate blood. I go to my local blood bank. I’m popular – I have O negative.

  2. Robert J Barkhamer Jr July 10, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations permit hemochromatosis patients to donate blood, but the Red Cross does not. They could get a million or more doners if they would just change that one stupid rule. There is no risk of passing on a genetic disorder through blood transfusions.

  3. JAE VAN July 8, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    Just wanted to let VA & RED COSS know; people like myself would not hesitate to give blood as long as we have money for transportation to get to the donation sites. Soldiers are really struggling at home to make ends meet; so thanks for offering the Amazon gift cards, food, possible gas or whatever you can because this can really help
    us to get there!

  4. Nick C Glover July 8, 2021 at 6:59 pm


  5. Retired Air Force July 8, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Restrictions for mad cow disease have changed.
    I copied the info from the Red Cross siteand pasted it below.

    You are not eligible to donate if:

    From January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1996, you spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 3 months or more, in any country in the United Kingdom (UK),

    Channel Islands
    Falkland Islands
    Isle of Man
    Northern Ireland

    From January 1, 1980, to present, you had a blood transfusion in any of the countries listed below:

    Channel Islands
    Falkland Islands
    Isle of Man
    Northern Ireland

    You spent (visited or lived) a cumulative time of 5 years or more from January 1, 1980, through December 31, 2001, in France or Ireland.

  6. Mary F Dougherty-vandam July 8, 2021 at 5:24 am

    Is mad cow still an issue? I was in Germany 85 86, and benelux 98 99.

  7. David Witenstein July 8, 2021 at 4:53 am

    Where can I donate my O NEG blood near Daytona Beach FL?

  8. rusty thorn July 7, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    are you sure this is working? no place to donate for the next month within 50 miles of the largest city in the state?

  9. rusty thorn July 7, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    woot free gas for a year, oh wait i drive electric

  10. sam wiliams July 7, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    have a history of donations (14 gallons) even had a donation go up into outer space!
    now I’m 81; can just platelets be donated?

  11. Carolyn Stacy July 7, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    What medications can bar you from donating blood ? Does diabetes also bar you from donating ? We are from Cincinnati and would like to donate but unsure re: medication / diabetes. O+ and B+. Thank you all for your service.

  12. Richard Gross July 7, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Supposedly we are good now and can donate

  13. Mark Bowden July 7, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    Donated every year since boot camp in 1975. Then last year or so they started online registration for donating. I didn’t know about that and did as I had for over 40 years and walked in (pre-covid) and told I couldn’t donate because I didn’t sign up for appointment. Numerous EMPTY TABLES but told others had appointments. Also questioned if any “No Shows” to which there were a number of them. Still would not take me in a “no show” slot because one might show up late. Prior to that I had gotten calls on my phone for weeks begging me to come in and donate. Yet refused over a stupid detail (forcing registration down our throats). Worse, the person in charge became rude over my persistence. Why not have 1 or 2 tables set aside for walk-ins? Nice job Red Cross. You LOST a 40 plus year blood donor. Doubt I will ever come back.

    • Tomistarr July 20, 2021 at 1:21 pm

      Please don’t allow one unpleasant experience to ruin your ongoing 40 years of service to those who have benefited as a result of your dedication to sharing your precious gift.
      Unfortunately covid has changed the way we do life all over the world and added stress to our lives in ways we would have never imagined. As a result sometimes we don’t respond to others as we should and often regret it later. They’re not in a hospital, but phlebotomists are part of healthcare who need our support and prayers.
      Hope you went back or that you will.
      God Bless!

  14. Larry Lawson July 6, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    where can i donate blood near joliet il. i am type o

    • Sunant Atkins July 7, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      Please go to You can find a blood drive by zip code

  15. William Blando July 6, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    I’d like to donate. Tell me when, where you have a drive or a location in my area, PLEASE. Don’t need a gift card of any other incentive.

  16. D Glover July 5, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Other veterans has reported in with c-19 after donating blood.
    When this happens isnt there a c-19 test given prior to donating?……..or are they contracting and or spreading c-19 after donating…because of no c-19 testing…

    • Jim Barnhart July 6, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      I wanted to donate but there are NO donation sites within 50 miles of my central Florida

    • Thomas England July 7, 2021 at 8:42 pm

      Lighten up. I’ll find you a crowded theater to scream fire in.

  17. David S Adams July 3, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    I already have an appointment for July 21st. How to apply for the gift card?

  18. mike Heider July 2, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    I donated blood from 1962 to 2011, When I told the blood bank that I had polio in 1947, they told me that I should never been allowed to donate blood. Hell, I enlisted in the Navy in 62, got drafted in 65, went all over the bloody world and dropped a pint or platelets, and never heard of anyone complaining. It’s still red and flows out nicely when I cut myself while working on my truck, etc.

  19. Eric L. Dixon July 2, 2021 at 2:36 am

    Has the Red Cross considered some form of genetic engineering to design an enzyme, hormone or some sort of protein biochemical agent to detect and eliminate any mad cow pathogens in the blood of those of us who served in the military during the 1990’s, if indeed the pathogens are present? I would think that we have the medical science and technology to do such but are not putting it to use.

  20. Mark Randall July 1, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Where can i go to donate?
    I’m having surgery in 12 days, can i still donate?

    • John July 2, 2021 at 11:18 am

      Can I still donate platelets even though I served in the military and lived in Germany from 87 to 91?

    • Cathleen E July 3, 2021 at 3:57 am

      Mark you should be able to donate. I would recommend talking to your surgeon first and consider trying to essentially put your donation “on reserve”. That way if you need a ‘top up’ after surgery they can just put it back in; post surgical anemia is no fun in my experience. If you don’t need it they should be able to just release the blood afterwards.

    • Mary Dante July 7, 2021 at 11:11 pm

      Id like to know too since a plasma center dck not only banned me for life, ( mad cow, but i had been waivered by another pro in same clinic)he banned me from ANY donations since i reported him for not denying the guy who came in before me for drug use right out front..

  21. VINCENT MARTORANO July 1, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    Would like to help.

  22. D-Man July 1, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    I had Hep C in 1990 and couldn’t qualify for Life insurance and could not donate blood. Then I went through a treatment and they said I still couldn’t donate blood because I has Hep C antibodies in my system. Then about 10 years later I had a blood test that showed it was gone completely. Now I am insured and I am able to donate blood. I hope this helps, remember if your blood is not accepted (when they test it) they will reject it and send you a letter.

  23. Abbe Oliver July 1, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Where can I donate near 66203?

    • George Tommila July 1, 2021 at 2:19 pm

      go to and you’ll be able to find a draw near you by entering either city or zip code

  24. Diane July 1, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    I always want to donate since I have the type so needed, but was told since I was in Germany with the Army from 1985 – 1987 I couldn’t donate. They claim because of mad cow disease, it’s a shame.

    • Shirley August July 6, 2021 at 12:57 pm

      I recently found out that disqualifier was removed in 2017. We can now donate. It’s a shame it wasn’t sooner. My ex-husband died in late 2016 and couldn’t donate any organs or tissue.

  25. Mark Orlicky July 1, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    Is there a VA office that’s handling this effort?

  26. Harold Waksdal July 1, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Any upper age limit? I am 90.

    • George Tommila July 1, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      They do have a cut-off..not positive but think it’s 75 because we older people need our own blood.

  27. Mike Mears July 1, 2021 at 7:27 am

    I served in Germany from 1986 to 89 can I donate?

  28. Elder Son July 1, 2021 at 12:27 am

    I’ve been exposed to 17 PCR tested positive people, that I know of, since the beginning of the Covid and haven’t had so much as a sniffle. Can I still give blood?

  29. Lou Smith June 30, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Where do I go to donate Blood?
    Zip code is 76116, Benbrook, TX

  30. Paul June 30, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    any red cross blood centers near 78521 zip code?

  31. Brian Piper June 30, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    California Blood Center refuses to take my blood because I lived in England during the 90s. I have never had Mad Cow Disease. Am I eligible to donate blood?

    • John R Clarke July 1, 2021 at 10:16 am

      O- here. Why is there a BAN against MOSTLY Military personnel can not give blood because they served in Europe during the MAD COW period???
      Surely enough time has passed to know there is NOTHING TO FEAR! So if you want MORE O TYPE blood you need to remove the BAN for us perfectly healthy people!!!

  32. Kesha Bailey June 30, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    I have seen the need for blood donation everywhere. And, I have said that I will donate. So, after reading this, I really feel the urgency to donate blood. I have a rare blood type, and I know how necessary it is too give back. There is a place quite close to me, and I will visit them next week to donate blood. And, I will be encouraging everyone I know to do the same.

  33. John Zabinski June 30, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    Where do I go to donate in Fort Worth.

  34. Jose Espitia June 30, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    I wanted to donate when I lived in Eagan(03 – 08) but was told I was ineligible due to being station in Germany while in the army in the early 90’s. The reason was mad cow deserve and the beef we ate wasn’t acquired from the states but locally. Is that still an issue?

  35. nick nanosun June 30, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    But how can one go to donate, the media said last few weeks that DELTA-21 is COVID-19 on steroids !

    One has to be suicidal to go anywhere !

    I didn’t say the first line, the GOVT & MEDIA DID !

  36. crazy gunsmith June 30, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    i had hep c 20 years ago and went through the 12 month treatment and was cured, at the time i finished my treatment i was told i could no longer give blood. i have gone into the mobile blood mobile sites in the last few years and asked if i could give blood again after being free of the hep c virus for 20+ years and no one has been able to answer my question, so to be on the safe side i didnt donate.
    does anyone know if former hep c patients that have been cured can donate blood or platelets?

  37. Lee and Patricia Stone June 30, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    I was in germany with your military 1986-1989. Do I qualify.

Comments are closed.

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