Waco blood banks facing shortage

Carter BloodCare to host blood drive on Baylor campus April 16th for students and faculty interested in donating. Christina Cannady | Photographer

By Annaleise Parsons | Staff Writer

Blood banks around Waco and Central Texas are in need of blood donations as the United States passes the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus shutdown.

Linda Padgett, corporate administrative assistant at Carter BloodCare in Woodway, said donations from every type of blood are needed.

“It’s really a critical time and has been for quite a while with all of this virus and everything going on.” Padgett said. “People need surgeries and everything … We are in critical need.”

Winter Storm Uri last month also contributed to the increased need for blood donations in the Waco area.

“It prevented a lot of people from being able to get out and come donate because ice conditions were so bad … That did affect us quite a bit,” Padgett said.

The need for blood is so great that community drives to donate blood have not satiated blood centers’ needs.

“We did get a good strong community response post the storm to help us immediately resupply our inventory shelf but red blood cells are only good for 42 days,” Debra Boyer, the supervisor at Baylor Scott & White Blood Center, said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, qualifications for blood donation have changed at Carter BloodCare.

A blood donor must be at least 16 years old with parental consent or over the age of 18 and have a legal photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport. If the donor has tested positive for COVID-19, they must have completed the appropriate length of quarantine and be symptom-free.

Blood donations to Carter BloodCare are also being tested for COVID-19 antibodies, but it is not a requirement for donors to have.

Golden sophomore Bailey Miller donated blood to Carter BloodCare through a donation drive on-campus.

“I decided to donate because…I wanted to help people who I might never meet but who need it the most,” Miller said. “The pain of the needle is not as bad as you think, and coming from someone who is terrified of needles it was especially scary for me. But in the end, it was as painless as it could be, and I got to save people.”

Boyer encouraged people who may be hesitant to donate to come and try donating blood at least once. Carter BloodCare will be hosting a blood drive on Baylor’s campus April 16th for Baylor students and faculty who are interested in donating.

“Blood is an essential drug that can not be manufactured in any way. It has to come from healthy volunteer blood donors….It is truly something that saves lives daily,” Boyer said. “The donation itself is the shortest part of the process.”

Carter BloodCare is also available for blood donation at their building at 206 Archway Dr. in Woodway. Baylor Scott & White Blood Center is located in Temple, and those interested in giving blood can schedule an appointment online.