In response to World Blood Donor Day on June 14, the BVI Red Cross put out a call to community members to register for donations.
The organisation requests people of all blood types donate, but it is especially seeking types O-Negative, AB-Positive and AB-Negative.
“There are a few blood types that we have just a few persons registered as,” BVI Red Cross Volunteer Coordinator Steven Persaud said.
There are eight main blood types, and some recipients can only be given certain types.
According to the Red Cross, type O blood is routinely in short supply and in high demand because O-Negative blood comes from a “universal donor.” That means doctors can give O-Negative blood to anyone in an emergency. However, people with this blood type can only accept blood from someone else with O-Negative blood.
Because the Virgin Islands has a relatively small population and blood has a limited shelf life of 30 days, the BVI Red Cross maintains the BVI Blood Donor Register. Community members can sign up for the registry at www.redcross.vg/giveblood, and they will receive a call when their blood type is needed.
The size of the VI community also makes it challenging to have rare blood types on hand, which prompted the recent call to action.
Mr. Persaud said the Dr. Orlando Smith Hospital lab has had to adapt to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it has put practices in place to ensure people can safely donate.
Those interested in donating must be in good general health, be between the ages of 18 and 65, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Further eligibility information is available at www.redcrossblood.org/faq.html#eligibility.
Anyone who doesn’t know their blood type can find out through the BVI Red Cross. For more information, call 494-6349 or 344-5056, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.