Vitalant, formerly United Blood Services, the nonprofit blood bank serving communities on the Central Coast, has a critical need for blood donations: Blood providers nationwide have less than a two days’ supply of necessary blood types.

For Vitalant, the busy holiday season resulted in over 21,000 fewer donations than expected. Due to the critical shortage, donors are strongly encouraged to give blood as soon as possible by calling 877.258.4825 (877-25-VITAL) or going online to

“We strive to maintain a four-day supply of blood just to provide what patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certain blood types,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, chief medical officer at Vitalant. 

“Blood on the shelf helps patients every day—for traumas, cancer treatments and critical transfusions—and enables us to be ready if disaster strikes,” Vassallo said.

Currently, all blood types and components are in short supply, with a special need for platelets and type O blood donations. Platelets have a very short shelf life—only five days. Type O-negative blood is the universal blood type that can help stabilize all patients. Nationally, Vitalant needs to collect more than 35,000 blood products per week to meet patient needs. On the Central Coast, we need to collect 1,225 blood products per week to meet local patient needs.

Every two seconds, someone needs blood. And even with new donations coming in daily, the demand can quickly outpace supply. 

Patients depend on the ongoing generosity of volunteer blood donors for the blood transfusions they need.

Who’s at risk? Everyone from accident victims to newborns to seniors who may need:

•         Red blood cells for trauma, surgery, emergencies;

•         Platelets and red blood cells to fight chronic disease – patients with cancer, hemophilia and sickle cell disease;

•         Plasma to stop the bleeding – burn patients and those with clotting disorders.

“To all the blood donors out there—you have gone above and beyond to save my son’s life. Without blood transfusions I would have lost my little boy,” said Nathan’s mom, April.

Nathan was born with a rare blood disorder, Gardos channel mutation, which causes his red blood cells to rapidly break apart. Every month, he relies on the generosity of strangers to donate lifesaving blood—a need that will most likely continue the rest of his life.

In fact, Nathan will receive his eightieth blood transfusion Jan. 9. Nathan and countless other children and adults with rare blood disorders and chronic disease need donated blood regularly. 

Vitalant (“Vye-TAL-ent”) is the nation’s second-largest community blood service provider, supplying comprehensive transfusion medicine services for nearly 1,000 hospitals and health care partners for patients in need across 40 states. 

Every day, almost 5,000 blood donations are needed to meet the needs of people throughout the country, and Vitalant’s 800,000 donors supply 1.8 million donations a year. 

In addition to blood products, Vitalant offers customers transfusion services, medical consulting, quality guidance, ongoing education, research and more. 

For more information and to schedule a donation, visit or call 877.258.4825 (877-25-VITAL). Join the conversation about impacting the lives of others on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.