The world is experiencing a serious shortage of blood donors, doctors say, because many countries do not allow people who have recently been vaccinated to donate blood, while some people simply stay at home with the rise of new infections.
In north korea, who are now battling record cases, donors unable to donate blood seven days after the Covid-19 vaccine, supplies fell to just 3.2 days on Wednesday, from 6.5 days last year, according to the Korean Red Cross.
The Korean Medical Association (KMA) has launched a blood donation campaign, starting with doctors themselves, warning that patients in need of emergency surgery or transfusions could face emergencies, KMA spokeswoman Park Soo-hyun told Reuters.
“There are more and more cases when hospitals inform us about the postponement of operations or treatments and the crowd due to lack of blood,” Park said.
Recurrent waves of infections, spurred by the highly portable variant of Delta, and the extension of blockade measures have begun to take a higher toll on donations, according to a Reuters review of the situation in different countries.
In Thailand, confirmed cases exceeded one million today, and authorities reported a record increase in deaths in recent weeks.
“Because of the situation with COVID, not many people give blood that gives blood, so there isn’t enough of it, and some surgeries have to be postponed,” said Piya Kiatisewi, a bone flow surgeon at Lerdsin Hospital in Bangkok.
Like South Korea, Russia prohibits voluntary blood donation – but for a whole month, not just seven days. It also does not accept the blood of those who are in the middle of a vaccination cycle against Covid-19.
The business daily Kommersant reported last week that donor activity in Russia had fallen, hit by a vaccination campaign, with blood service workers in six different regions reporting the problem to newspapers.
Of course, in Western Europe, concerns about donations affected by vaccination have been exacerbated by the traditional summer holiday season.
FranceThe blood supply agency, Etablissement Francais du Sang (EFA), said supplies were too tight for consolation. It is said to have 85,000 bags of red blood cells in reserve, below a comfortable level of 100,000 or more.
“No sick person will miss a transfusion, but we are worried about September,” an EFA spokesman told Reuters, when the volume of surgeries would usually increase.
In Italy, The National Blood Center said there was a worrying shortage in a number of regions, including Lazio, with its center in the capital Rome, which has led some hospitals to postpone planned operations to preserve emergency supplies. The lack is mainly blamed on many people who go on holiday and the lack of staff in some collection centers.
Across Europe, the level of donations is also plagued by uncertainty about whether people can donate blood if they are not vaccinated, officials in various countries have said. SpainFor example, the Ministry of Health issued a call for donations this week, telling people that it is safe to donate during a pandemic.
In Greece“People are afraid to go and donate blood to hospitals because of the coronavirus,” said Konstantinos Stamoulis, scientific director of the Hellenic National Blood Center in Athens. “There are days when blood donation is reduced by up to 50% compared to 2019,” he said.
Returning to Asia, many countries are now facing their worst coronavirus epidemic to date amid a rush of the Delta variant.
In Vietnam, the country ‘s National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, said it could meet only 50-70% of demand.
“We have failed to deploy mobile donor centers,” said Le Hoang Oanh, head of the blood transfusion center at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, the Vietnamese epicenter of the coronavirus.
“Instead, we need to invite donors to go to our permanent centers, which is a challenge given the restrictions on movement in the city.”