Public Policy Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Blood Supply in the United States

William Riley, Kailey Love, Jeffrey McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated an acute blood shortage for medical transfusions, exacerbating an already tenuous blood supply system in the United States, contributing to the public health crisis, and raising deeper questions regarding emergency preparedness planning for ensuring blood availability. However, these issues around blood availability during the pandemic are related primarily to the decline in supply caused by reduced donations during the pandemic rather than increased demand for transfusion of patients with COVID-19. The challenges to ensure a safe blood supply during the pandemic will continue until a vaccine is developed, effective treatments are available, or the virus goes away. If this virus or a similar virus were capable of transmission through blood, it would have a catastrophic impact on the health care system, causing a future public health emergency that would jeopardize the national blood supply. In this article, we identify the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on blood supply adequacy, discuss the public health implications, propose recovery strategies, and present recommendations for preparing for the next disruption in blood supply driven by a public health emergency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)860-866
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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