Companies, Organizations Needed to Host Events

A current, nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections throughout the Sun Belt, along with the constant importance of bolstering the local blood supply, has created a significant need for residents to donate blood and, if possible, convalescent plasma.

The nonprofit, blood-collection organization Vitalant is offering an open-to-the-public Mark Spatola Memorial Drive on Tuesday, August 11 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Agnes Parish Center, 55 South Avenue, Atlantic Highlands.

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Vitalant is also seeking companies and organizations throughout Monmouth County to host blood donation events. Information on hosting a donation event is available by clicking here.

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. 

Vitalant is providing an antibody test — which is authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — to all donors; results will be available in private, online donor accounts, approximately two weeks after a donation. 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.

To promote the increase of blood, convalescent plasma, and platelet donations, regular event host companies and organizations — many of which put their events on pause due to the pandemic — are asked to consider returning to a consistent schedule of donation events.

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.

About Vitalant in New Jersey

A not-for-profit organization that supplies blood and blood products to hospitals in the New Jersey/New York region, Bergen County-based Vitalant (previously Community Blood Services) has been devoted to serving the community’s transfusion medicine needs since 1953. Donations of blood and blood products, umbilical cord blood, stem cells, and bone marrow help to join individuals, organizations, businesses, and entire communities together in partnership to help save lives.

About Vitalant

Arizona-based Vitalant is among the nation’s oldest and largest transfusion medical organizations in the U.S.  Founded in 1943, its blood centers division serves some 700 hospitals across the United States. A founding member of America’s Blood Centers and the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks), Vitalant also operates biological products distribution services, a quality consulting group, and a world-renowned transfusion medicine research institute. It also is a partner in the operation of high-volume donor testing laboratories.