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Assemblymember Rodriguez Introduces Vital Legislation to Alleviate the Nationwide Blood Shortage

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D – Pomona) has introduced AB 813, which would authorize Cal OES to enter into partnerships with private sector entities to encourage the private sector to provide meaningful incentives for individuals to donate blood or blood components. As hospitals around the nation have battled a nationwide blood shortage for over a year now, more must to be done to increase our supply and ensure those in need of a transfusion can receive one.

“As a career first responder, I spent over 30 years treating patients and have continued my service throughout my time in the Legislature. However, I have never witnessed such a detrimental blood shortage as the one we are currently experiencing nationwide,” stated Assemblymember Rodriguez.

Last January, the American Red Cross declared its first-ever nationwide blood crisis as the organization faced its worst blood shortage in over a decade. The Red Cross has historically supplied around 40% of the nation’s blood supply. However, due to the shortage, some hospitals only receive a quarter of their needed blood. This issue is not unique to the American Red Cross, as the nationwide number of blood donors at all donation sites has decreased by roughly 10% since March 2020.

Vitalant, a nonprofit blood bank, has also been struggling to recover post-pandemic. As of last month, their blood supply was about 20% below pre-pandemic levels. To combat this low supply, Vitalant is incentivizing people to donate blood by offering $10 Amazon gift cards to donors throughout the month of February. The Red Cross is using Amazon gift cards as an incentive but is also raffling off a trip for two to Florida.

California is a disaster-prone state, and a shortage of available blood during a large-scale emergency may result in otherwise preventable loss of life. This shortage negatively affects hospitals and patients across the state as doctors are forced to choose who receives care immediately and who must wait until more blood is available. AB 813 will help incentivize Californians to donate blood and increase the overall supply available so we are prepared for any potential disaster.

“Ensuring our state is prepared for any potential disaster requires us to ensure all of our emergency response systems are readily equipped to aid someone in need. This includes our nation’s blood supply remaining sufficient to prevent doctors from making the no-win choice of who receives immediate care and who has to wait,” added Assemblymember Rodriguez.

Assemblymember Rodriguez (Twitter) represents the 53rd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, and Upland. He is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Emergency Management.