Red Cross to revamp blood drives

Published 12:03 am Friday, June 17, 2011

Turnout at Thursday’s blood drive at Andalusia Regional Hospital was enough to make Red Cross officials rethink how they plan to schedule drives in Covington County.

Megan Jefferson, blood services account manager for the RC Alabama and Gulf Coast region, said a total of 18 people came to donate. She said of those, 14 were able to give blood.

“Normally, we don’t see that many people, so we were very pleased with the way things turned out,” Jefferson said.

She said previously that 17 donors were needed to keep the Red Cross coming back for future drives at ARH.

That goal was met, and Jefferson said she and hospital officials believe they’ve found a way that while reducing the number of drives, will increase the number of donors.

“One thing I didn’t realize is that Covington County, specifically Andalusia, has such a small population,” she said. “I typically try to schedule three drives in a month. We think by cutting that to two drives, that will allow more people an opportunity to give.”

Jefferson said donors are required to wait 56 days between donations.

“With the drives so close together, it didn’t give people time to recover,” she said. “So, that really opens the window a bit, by cutting the number.”

She said of the 47 active accounts in Covington County, less than half are successful drives that produce more than 21 units each time. She hopes that number will now increase.

“And as always, we are sending out a plea for blood donations,” she said. “It’s summer, so the need is there. It’s hard for us to get donors during the summer months because people are on vacation, are busy and such. But, on the flip side, it’s also the time when blood is needed the most due to accidents.

“So please, give when you have the opportunity,” she said.

Other upcoming blood drives include one on Sat., June 25, at Covington Mall from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., and on Tues., June 28, at Southside Baptist Church-Andalusia, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.

Donors must be at least 17 years old, healthy and weigh at least 110 pounds.