Oklahoma Blood Institute launches donor eligibility hotline to encourage people to look into donating blood as critically low blood shortage continues

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Blood Institute launched a donor eligibility hotline to help people find out if they are eligible to donate blood as blood supply levels remain critically low.

The hotline – (888) 308-3924 – allows potential donors to ask confidential questions about their eligibility status, which could have changed because of changes recently enacted by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

The hotline will also address misconceptions about donor eligibility, including medication usage, international travel and vaccinations.

“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.”

A national blood shortage caused the blood supply in Oklahoma to become critically low. Consistently high hospital usage and lower-than-expected donation levels brought about the national shortage.

“Blood has no substitute, so donors are needed regularly to replenish the local blood supply,” Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) officials said.

Although many people believe their health conditions make them ineligible to donate blood, many conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or thyroid disease, do not generally disqualify a person from donating.

Prior European residency and travel previously deferred donors, but the FDA scaled back those regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, potential donors are encouraged to call the hotline to find out if they are eligible to donate.

Go to obi.org or call (877) 340-8777 to make an appointment to donate blood. Walk-ins are also welcome.

OBI provides over 90 percent of Oklahoma’s blood supply to over 160 hospitals and medical facilities.

Visit obi.org for more information.

Answers to frequently asked questions are listed at obi.org/blood-donation/can-i-donate.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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