Aussies urged to roll up sleeves as Omicron sidelines 100,000 donors

Australians are being urged to roll up their sleeves and potentially help save a life, with blood donations plummeting to a worrying low due to the latest Omicron wave across the country.

The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood has today issued a call out for new and existing blood donors, with the pandemic sidelining an estimated 100,000 donors.

It’s understood 20 per cent of the nation’s donors have been unable to donate in recent weeks due to record numbers of people isolating or currently unwell with COVID-19.


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Lifeblood spokesperson Cath Stone said it was as if “winter had come early” with cancellations and no shows peaking and less than one in two appointments resulting in a donation.

“Traditionally we see high numbers of no shows and cancellations during the winter months, with many regular donors unwell, but we’ve never seen numbers this high in the middle of summer,” Ms Stone said.

“It’s a real challenge for blood supplies because even in the midst of a pandemic there are still cancer patients, trauma cases, pregnant women and unborn babies who all require donated blood.

“If you are feeling well, and eligible to donate, your team needs you to get off the bench and help out now”.

Ms Stone said donors only need to be clear of COVID-19 symptoms for seven days.

“There is no substitute for blood… Cancellations and no-shows are an ongoing problem and new donors are critical to keep supplies flowing to our hospitals,” she said.

While Lifeblood encourages people to book in advance, donor centres are currently welcoming walk-ins.

“Our growing population is relying on just 500,000 blood donors across the country – and right now many of them need someone else to continue this lifesaving work,” Ms Stone said.

“Donating blood will take only one hour of your time, and every blood donation can help to save three lives.”