Tempe Vitalant blood drive brings low turnout amid hardest week to maintain supplies

Jul 10, 2024, 12:00 PM

Patient donates blood at Vitalant drive...

What was supposed to be Arizona's largest blood drive did not provide the expected turnout for Vitalant. (Vitalant Facebook Photo)

(Vitalant Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — Vitalant urgently needs donors following low turnout at what was meant to be Arizona’s largest blood drive over the holiday weekend.

Sue Thew, communications manager for Vitalant, said Sunday’s event at the Tempe Center for the Arts filled half of the 600 projected appointments and only 277 donations were obtained.

“We had hoped to bring in a lot more than that. So, we are still on the search for more blood donors to give blood this week to prevent a shortage,” Thew told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

Though Vitalant is experiencing a shortage in all types, Thew said a low supply of type O is most alarming since it is universally used in trauma emergencies.

“We strive to keep a four-day supply of all blood types on the shelves right now,” Thew said. “What we are extremely concerned about is type-O blood supplies in Arizona. We’re about 50% below required levels.”

The blood bank has a daily requirement of 600 donors, which fills the needs of 62 hospitals across metro Phoenix.

Thew said she believes the primary reason for such a low turnout was the drive landing on the long Fourth of July weekend.

“Heavy traffic on the roads and highways also creates a bigger potential for the need for blood donors,” Thew said. “Some people just probably don’t want to get out of the house and battle the heat.”

Vitalant has locations in just about every neighborhood in the Valley, along with seven donor centers and 20 blood drives per day.

As a extra incentive for potential donors, Thew said that all summer donors are entered for a chance to win a 2024 Volkswagen Jetta.

For more information about blood donation, visit the Vitalant website.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Kate Ourada contributed to this report.

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Tempe Vitalant blood drive brings low turnout amid hardest week to maintain supplies