A robust blood supply is essential, but from Hurricane Sally, to the western wildfires, to ongoing closures and restrictions related to the pandemic, the number of donations nationwide had recently fallen. In response, the nonprofit, blood-collection organization Vitalant is providing 30 local, open-to-the-public donation events during October in northern New Jersey and adjacent areas of New York.

Click to view details of all 30 October events in northern NJ and NY (updated regularly to reflect recent changes).

Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to donate blood plasma. Known as “convalescent plasma,” this blood component contains antibodies that may provide seriously ill patients an extra boost in fighting the disease. There is also a great need for blood platelets -- small cells in the blood that form clots to prevent bleeding, while also helping with anemia and low blood counts – and type O-negative, the universal blood type.

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FEMA has specifically identified blood donation as an “essential and integral component of the emergency support function.” Of note, coronavirus cannot be transferred through the blood. And, as always, the blood collection process is safe with no impact on the donor's immune system. Vitalant staff follows rigorous safety and disinfection protocols at its blood drives and donation centers and have always required individuals to be in good health to donate blood.

Vitalant also maintains four New Jersey blood centers, with hours and street addresses as follows:

Healthy individuals age 16 or older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, may donate blood; 16- and 17-year-olds must have proof of birth date and signed consent forms, either in English or Spanish. Donors should eat a moderate meal prior to donating, and also bring identification featuring their signature.

On occasion, last-minute changes to scheduling for a donation event will occur. As a result, it is recommended that anyone planning to donate blood at a Vitalant donation event call 201-251-3703, toll free, to confirm timing and location details. Additional information about donating blood is also available by visiting www.vitalant.org.