Amid the ongoing pandemic and festive season, blood banks across the city are facing major shortage of blood. According to data provided by the state blood transfusions council (SBTC), there are 26,700 units of blood available in the state; while blood banks in Mumbai have a stock of 3,700 units. The officials claim that people are hesitant to come forward to donate blood due to the pandemic. Also, after taking the vaccine, residents have to maintain a 14-day gap before donating blood. Due to this, there is a shortage of supply.
In pre-Covid days, the city needed 1,000 units of blood every day. During the lockdown, the demand for blood drop as few surgeries were being performed. But after the cases started declining and everything started opening up, the number of surgeries and cancer treatment cycles increased, resulting in more demand for blood.
Director of SBTC Dr Arun Thorat said there are several factors due to which the city is reeling under huge shortage of blood since the pandemic. Currently, there are 26,700 units in stock across Maharashtra — half of the usual count of 40,000 to 50,000 units. Mumbai has 3,700 units left, which is lower than its usual stock of 5,000 units.
“The Covid-19 vaccination drive has hampered blood donation. People who get vaccinated cannot donate blood for up to 14 days. This has become a big impediment. Blood donation camps are going on across the state to overcome the shortage of blood,” Thorat said.
“Every day, the blood bank receives some stock which is utilised by hospitals. Also, blood stock cannot be reserved for long. Therefore, I appeal to people before getting vaccinated to donate blood as everyone won't be taking a vaccine on the first day itself. If not, we may face a shortage of donors for the next three months,” added Dr Thorat.
Meanwhile, social activists claim it is not only the fear of Covid that has kept many donors away, but confusion created due to vaccination. A doctor said many people incorrectly believe they cannot donate before and after vaccination. “Due to vaccinations, the waiting period for blood donation has increased,” said the doctor.
Senior doctors from the JJ Hospital also appealed to healthy citizens to donate blood. Moreover, blood is required while performing surgeries, cesarean delivery and for patients who have anemia, thalassemia, among others. “To prevent scarcity of blood, healthy individuals should come and donate blood so that future complications can be prevented,” said a doctor.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)