This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials with the Oklahoma Blood Institute say they are facing the worst blood shortage in decades, so they are trying to find new ways to encourage people to donate blood.

The OBI is launching a new donor eligibility hotline to help encourage more people to discover whether they can donate blood.

“We hear every day from donors who believe they can’t give blood because of a medication they’re taking or information they were told many years ago,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “In this time of heightened need and with new guidance in effect, we’re encouraging everyone to discover their eligibility status and stand ready to help support the community blood supply.”

The hotline will allow donors to ask confidential questions and will address many common misconceptions.

Donors are asked to call 888-308-3924 with questions about their eligibility. Answers to frequently asked questions are listed at obi.org/blood-donation/can-i-donate.

For many, health conditions are assumed to render them ineligible to donate. However, many conditions – like diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid disease – do not generally disqualify a person from donating blood. For others, including many military donors, prior European residency or travel previously deferred them from donating. This regulation was scaled back dramatically by the FDA during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, so potential donors are encouraged to call the hotline about their specific situation. 

Appointments to donate blood can be made at obi.org or by calling 877-340-8777. Walk-ins are welcome.

The blood supply remains at critical levels following a national blood shortage, worsened by consistently high hospital usage and lower-than-expected donation levels. Blood has no substitute, so donors are needed regularly to replenish the local blood supply.