(CNN) – The holidays are typically hard on blood donations.
During a pandemic, collecting blood becomes even more difficult, according to Pat Sullivan with the American Red Cross.
“People need to take care of themselves, be safe, be socially distant from one another, but giving blood is an essential activity and we need people to respond now,” he said.
Supplies are low with more than 100,000 blood drives canceled since the pandemic started.
“Where we would normally collect blood in terms of schools, places of worship, community centers, some of those locations are not currently operating or obviously not bringing together the same numbers of people,” Sullivan said.
Coronavirus convalescent plasma, the antibodies from someone recovering from COVID-19, is also being collected by the Red Cross and can be used to help someone who’s battling the virus.
“The blood program has only become more important in a time when it’s more challenging to get more people to come out,” according to Sullivan.
The Red Cross says it’s taking every precaution to keep blood donations safe, including health screenings with temperature checks.
Appointments are recommended. More information is available on the Red Cross website.