Colorado is facing a critical blood shortage — here’s how you can help

Heather Willard
Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, donates blood through Vitalant. The Patrol partnered with Vitalant in March.Photo byColorado State Patrol

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / March 28, 2023

(Douglas County, Colo.) Blood donations sharply decline in winter, but medical needs don’t simply stop with the changing of seasons.

According to Vitalant, a non-profit blood donation group, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion on average every two seconds. Vitalant declared an emergency blood shortage in January, after the supply reached the lowest level in a year. Although levels have risen throughout February and March, the shortage is still ongoing.

According to Vitalant communications manager Brooke Way, changes in the way people work, live and play during the pandemic has created lasting challenges to maintaining an adequate blood supply. She pointed to remote work limiting business-hosted blood drives, which dropped 50% in 2022 from 2019 — accounting for approximately 90,000 fewer donations received.

Way said the overall number of people donating with Vitalant has dropped about 20% from 2019-2022. Additionally, over 760 scheduled donations were canceled in February in the Colorado region due to weather.

“Heading into April, we are seeing a slight improvement to the blood supply here in Colorado, but we like to have a four-day supply of all blood types on our shelves at all times, and we are still only seeing about a two-day supply of Type O,” Way said.

Type O donors are crucial since O-positive is the most common blood type and O-negative is the universal type that can help patients of all blood types.

Vitalant is seeking to attract new blood donors while maintaining regular donors that keep making appointments and seeking those that haven’t given in a while to help prevent these severe shortages of blood. According to the non-profit, while the majority of the population is eligible, only 3% actually donate.

There are ten permanent donation locations including Denver, Colorado Springs, Highlands Ranch and Parker. Remember your photo ID and eat a healthy meal before donating — fluid intake is also important for blood donation.

Vitalant is incentivizing blood donors who give March 27- May 15 with a $10 gift card, with some restrictions, redeemable by email. Donors who give April 7-9 will receive a total of $20 in gift cards.

Learn more and make an appointment to give at, download and use the Vitalant app or call 877-25-VITAL (877-258-4825). Visit for details on the prepaid gift card giveaway.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO

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