Arkansas Blood Institute’s Supply Hits Emergency Low Levels

Donors are being urged to give immediately for local patients.

Black man donating blood

Arkansas Blood Institute’s blood supply remains at a critical level heading into the July 4th holiday weekend. The nonprofit blood supplier supports inventory for patients in more than 40 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide. 

Although donors have responded to the blood emergency declaration, the blood supply has not rebounded as much as needed as hospital usage remains critically high, according to a press release. Last week’s hospital usage was nearly 20 percent higher than expected levels, based on historic usage patterns.

A less-than-robust blood supply represents a more serious concern heading into the July 4th holiday weekend, where car crashes and traumas are likely to increase. The timing of this year’s holiday also means two days of blood collection will be lost, widening the gap between need and available supply.

Due to a nationwide blood shortage, a strained blood supply represents an even more dangerous situation than it did in years past. Recently, an active shooter in Austin shot 14 people, creating an immediate and serious need for blood products. The blood center in that area put out a national call for help, but only 20 percent of their need was met by other blood centers who were facing emergency shortages and could spare little to help.

“The last year has been an unstable pattern of ups and downs for our blood supply, but none has been so worrying as the barely detectable reaction to the 14-victim shooting in Austin,” said Dr. John Armitage, president and CEO of Arkansas Blood Institute. “Such an anemic reaction is not at all typical and warns of a weakening national resilience to face the next mass casualty event.” 

To rebuild the blood supply and be prepared for the holiday weekend, donors are needed immediately. Blood donation takes about an hour and can save up to three lives. Donors can find locations to donate at or by calling 877-340-8777. While COVID-19 vaccination is not required of blood donors, those who have been vaccinated can donate immediately, assuming they are feeling well.

A blood drive is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 6 at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. Donors will receive a free, limited edition t-shirt and one free entry to Magic Springs Theme and Water Park. Because it’s Christmas in July, all donors will be entered to win a $250 Visa gift card. Walk-ins are welcome.