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Join UC in giving blood this holiday season — supplies are critical

Right now, running through your veins, is the power to save a life.

Blood supplies often run low during the winter holidays, but this year, the problem is particularly acute because of the pandemic. Thousands of mobile blood drives have been canceled, and health officials worry that we could see serious shortages in the coming weeks unless enough people make appointments to donate.

“Lots of people want to help their communities during this pandemic — well, a blood donation is a very meaningful way of doing that,” said Dr. Carrie L. Byington, executive vice president for University of California Health. “It is an act of service that saves lives.”

Donating is simple: Book an appointment at your nearest American Red Cross donation center or contact one of the University of California Health hospitals to donate.

Once you arrive for your appointment, the process takes about an hour, just 10 minutes of which is the actual donation. The rest of the time is spent filling out forms, providing a health history, and recovering with juice and a cookie.

Safety protocols are in place to minimize health risks from the coronavirus, including strict social distancing practices, mandatory masks, and enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

Recovered from COVID-19? Your blood is critically needed

There are some restrictions on who can donate. People who have contracted COVID-19 and fully recovered, however, have antibodies in their blood that could help others survive the virus. If you have recovered from a confirmed case of COVID-19, the donation center will separate your blood into its component elements and use the convalescent plasma to help others who are currently fighting the virus.

Need another recommendation? Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, both donated convalescent plasma in May through UCLA Health to help with patient recovery efforts. Hanks has encouraged others to do the same, tweeting to his 16.7 million followers that the process was “as easy as taking a nap.”

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  1. Jan Kehoe December 1, 2020 Reply

    I have an American Red Cross blood drive running in San Leandro, just off of 880/Davis Street, on Saturday, December 19th. Please email me at if you are interested in donating, I would love to sign you up. I miss our blood drives at UCOP!

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