Belgium’s two Red Cross organisations are urgently in need of fresh blood donations, as stocks of most blood types are running seriously low.
The Flemish Red Cross has issued an urgent request for donations. According to their estimates, 1,250 donations will be needed to bring stocks up to normal levels.
“In the summer, the turnout is traditionally lower than normal, because a large number of our blood donors are travelling or may have forgotten to make an appointment due to the holiday,” said a spokesperson.
And on top of a normal seasonal dip, the flooding of recent weeks in large parts of the country has put a strain on the organisation’s resources. Finally, fear of Covid-19 has meant many faithful donors are reluctant to turn up for a new donation because of health concerns.
“However, that is absolutely no problem. Those who have been vaccinated can give blood again 48 hours after their vaccination, if no problems have arisen,” the spokesperson said.
The Red Cross is an international institution, and though the Belgian representation is split down language lines, the two sides cooperate fully. That can be seen by the way the Flemish Red Cross responded to rush to the aid of the victims of the flooding, which mainly took place in Wallonia.
Similarly, blood supplies go where they are required. Red corpuscles have no national or regional identity.
The Red Cross on the French-speaking side has a handy graphic on its blood donors’ site, showing how things stand with the particular blood groups. In brief: Now very well. All groups are running low apart from AB+, a group carried by only about 4% of the population. Groups O+ is the most common on 39%, closely followed by A+ on 30%.
All of the others in the ABO system of classification are in single figures, and blood products from those groups are particularly in demand.