From Iceland — Blood Bank Situation Is 'Grave'

Blood Bank Situation Is ‘Grave’

Published June 9, 2022

Photo by
LuAnn Hunt/Unsplash

With the number of blood donations decreasing in recent years, the Icelandic Blood Bank’s stocks are now below safety limits — leaving the bank’s department manager worried about this summer, reports Vísir.

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“The situation is grave. The stock situation is just very poor, and this endangers the safety of patients. This is a situation that we need to work on in the next few days in order to meet the demand that arises,” says Ína Björg Hjálmarsdóttir, blood bank department manager.

Landspítalinn is calling for people to come to the blood bank and donate to help make up for the low supply.

According to Ína, the blood bank needs to double its current stock to meet safety requirements.

“We have about 270 units like this in this house. We want to have 400 or 450 … then we are pretty happy. So we are far below that,” Ína says. “It is not good to start like this at the beginning of June with a very poor stock.”

Ína says around 8,000 blood donors come to the bank every year, but it has been difficult to get new blood donors.

“We naturally have a declining group of blood donors because we have not been able to go on blood collection trips. We have mainly been receiving blood donations from the greater Reykjavík area and around Akureyri. We have not been able to use the blood bank car because of COVID. So two years without getting many new ones affects the blood donation group,” she says.

Ína says the blood that is collected mostly goes to cancer patients, those who undergo surgery and those who have accidents.

“People are traveling now, both Icelanders and foreign tourists, so then we get more accidents,” Ína says. “Then we get more use and then we need to have enough.”

For the record, the Blood Bank still enforces a blanket ban on gay and bisexual men from donating blood. For comparison purposes, the American Red Cross requires a three-month abstinence period for gay and bisexual men prior to blood donation, but they can ultimately donate.

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