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One Tinley Park Hosts Blood Drive Due To Shortages From COVID-19

TINLEY PARK, IL — One Tinley Park is hosting a blood drive on Oct. 30, at Union Bar & Grill to help gather more blood during the COVID-19 pandemic. The blood drive is in partnership with Versiti Blood Center of Illinois.

According to the Red Cross, blood donations are facing a serious shortage of donations due to the pandemic. One Tinley Park said they are proud to team up with the blood center to provide a safe outlet for people to make a difference in the community.

“As blood banks face coronavirus-driven shortages, donating has never been more crucial. The COVID-19 crisis has led to a drastic reduction in blood donations,” the organization said.

One Tinley Park said its goal is to have around 23 donors sign-up for the event to meet their target of 18 pints of blood. The organization said they have about 30 appointment slots to try and get to their goal.

The organization said they have teamed up with Union Bar & Grill, 17821 80th Ave., for the blood drive, and that the restaurant has offered to give a 20% discount to all blood donors.

According to the website, Versiti is a fusion of donors, scientific curiosity, and precision medicine that recognize the gifts of blood and life are precious.

To sign up for an appointment for the blood drive, visit the appointment schedule on the Versiti Blood Center of Illinois website.

This article originally appeared on the Tinley Park Patch

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Uganda reports blood shortages amid coronavirus pandemic

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Health authorities in Uganda say the supply of blood has sharply declined since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as fewer people donate and schools remain closed. The consequences are sometimes deadly.

Students, especially those in secondary school, are the largest group of blood donors in the East African country but schools have been closed since March amid efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

This means the government agency charged with collecting blood is failing to meet its targets.

Dr. Emmanuel Batiibwe, the director of a hospital that looks after many of the poorest residents of the capital, Kampala, cited multiple deaths there in recent months related to blood shortages.

One victim was a woman with pregnancy complications. Children under 5 and patients going into surgery are also among those frequently in need of a blood transfusion, he said.

In July, Batiibwe’s China-Uganda Friendship Hospital received only 18 of a requisitioned 218 units of blood. The next month 68 of 217 units came in, he said.

“There’s a problem somewhere,” he said, calling the shortage a “disaster.”

The head of Uganda Blood Transfusion Services, Dr. Dorothy Byabazaire, told lawmakers earlier this year that her agency collected 56,850 units of a targeted 75,000 between April and July.

Facilities across the country submit blood orders to the agency, and there is a sharing mechanism among facilities in the event of emergencies. But “borrowing” blood can be time-consuming, Batiibwe said.

The Uganda Red Cross, which helps authorities to mobilize blood donors, said it hasn’t been easy to recruit donors during the pandemic. The country has confirmed more than 8,600 coronavirus cases, including 79 deaths.

“People don’t feed well anymore. People are stressed,” said spokeswoman Irene Nakasiita, adding that some willing, potential donors are turned away because their blood levels are too low.

Similar challenges were echoed by Ariho Franco, a donor recruiter for a blood bank operated by Kampala’s private Mengo Hospital, who said that while schools are closed they are focusing on public places. They have set up tents in locations such as the public square in central Kampala. Donors receive soda and cookies.

“The blood shortage is a serious problem because the few people who are out there that we are able to reach are unable to donate due to various reasons,” Franco said.

He said blood collection teams are facing challenges in finding donors among communities reeling from the economic impacts of the pandemic. Some people say they are not sure where their next meal will come from, he said.

“At the end of the day some people may only survive by the mercy of God since the little blood that will have been collected will only be reserved for serious emergencies,” he said.

Blood shortages have been reported elsewhere, including in parts of Europe.

Local media in Romania have cited fear of COVID-19 infections among the reasons for a decline in the number of blood donors. The cities of Iasi and

Flu shot shortages in your areas? Record number of doses are on the way

October is prime time for flu vaccinations, and the U.S. and Europe are gearing up for what experts hope is high demand as countries seek to avoid a “twindemic” with COVID-19.

“There’s considerable concern as we enter the fall and winter months and into the flu season that we’ll have that dreaded overlap” of flu and the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health said Thursday. He got his own flu shot earlier this week.

A record number of flu vaccine doses are on the way, between 194 million and 198 million for the U.S. alone — seemingly plenty considering last year just under half of adults got vaccinated and there usually are leftovers.

Still, there’s no way to know how many will seek shots this year and some people occasionally are finding drugstores or clinics temporarily out of stock.

Related: The soreness many people feel after getting the flu shot is a sign the body is developing influenza-fighting antibodies.

Be patient: Flu vaccine ships gradually. Less than half has been distributed so far, and the CDC and manufacturers say more is in transit.

“This year I think everyone is wanting to get their vaccine and maybe wanting it earlier than usual,” Dr. Daniel Jernigan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told The Associated Press. “If you’re not able to get your vaccination now, don’t get frustrated” but keep trying.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, which is supplying nearly 250 million doses worldwide including 80 million for the U.S., says it has shipments staggered into November.

Vaccine maker Seqirus is exploring if it could squeeze out “a limited number of additional doses” to meet high demand, said spokeswoman Polina Miklush.

Brewing flu vaccine is time-consuming. Once production ends for the year, countries can’t simply order more — making for a stressful balancing act as they guess how many people will roll up their sleeves.

Germany usually buys 18 million to 19 million doses, and this year ordered more. As German Health Minister Jens Spahn put it: “If we manage, together, to get the flu vaccination rate so high that all 26 million doses are actually used, then I’d be a very happy health minister.”

Spain purchased extra doses in hopes of vaccinating far more older adults and pregnant women than usual, along with key workers in health facilities and nursing homes.

In contrast, Poland, which last year had 100,000 doses go unused, didn’t anticipate this fall’s high demand and is seeking more.

Related: Cold is easier to distinguish from flu and COVID-19, but symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are very similar.

The good news: The same precautions that help stop spread of the coronavirus — wearing masks, avoiding crowds, washing your hands and keeping your distance — can help block influenza, too.

Winter just ended in the Southern Hemisphere and countries like South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Chile diagnosed hardly any flu thanks to COVID-19 restrictions