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An American Red Cross donation technician monitors a Fort Jackson Soldier as she donates a pint of whole blood during a community blood drive held at Coleman Gym. One pint of blood has the potential to save three lives. Each donation can be tracked through the Red Cross website to see how donations save lives. (By Alexandra Shea)

By Alexandra Shea, Fort Jackson Public Affairs

As 2021 gives way to 2022, many people will reflect on their lives last year and make resolutions for the New Year. Something that hasn’t changed from last year to next is the critically low shortages of whole blood and blood products.

“Historically low blood supply levels not seen in more than a decade persist for the American Red Cross, which supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood. The ongoing decline comes at a time of year when donations typically fall. Holiday get-togethers, school breaks and winter weather often lead to lower donor turnout, potentially further compounding the situation,” according to the Red Cross website.

Fort Jackson along with Moncrief Army Health Clinic will host a Red Cross Community Blood Drive Feb. 7 in the multipurpose room located on the fourth floor of the health clinic from 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Donors are encouraged to make appointments online utilizing the Red Cross blood donor app or RapidPass system for first time users. To schedule an appointment online, users should use the sponsor code: fortjackson.

“Schedule online, it’s so easy,” said William Sexton, Fort Jackson’s American Red Cross ambassador and firefighter. “One pint can save up to three lives.”

The Red Cross is following FDA blood donation eligibility guidance for those who receive the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters. Depending on the type of vaccine and when someone receives the vaccine, there may be a waiting period before donation.

“There’s no deferral time if you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine,” Sexton said. “If you have been vaccinated, you will need to show your vaccination card when you sign in though.”

According to the website, the Red Cross recommends waiting to donate blood products for two weeks after receiving a vaccine or booster. Those wishing to donate must be symptom free and feeling well at the time of donation.

“Not only do you save lives,” Sexton said. “You can track the journey your donation makes online as well. It’s pretty cool. So, please come out and support this drive.”