Managing blood supplies during natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies, and pandemics: lessons learned from COVID-19

Tayler A. Van Denakker, Arwa Z. Al-Riyami, Rita Feghali, Richard Gammon, Cynthia So-Osman, Elizabeth P. Crowe, Ruchika Goel, Herleen Rai, Aaron A.R. Tobian, Evan M. Bloch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a historic public health crisis with widespread social and economic ramifications. The pandemic has also affected the blood supply, resulting in unprecedented and sustained blood shortages. Areas Covered: This review describes the challenges of maintaining a safe and sufficient blood supply in the wake of natural disasters, humanitarian emergencies, and pandemics. The challenges, which are accentuated in low- and high-income countries, span the impact on human capacity (affecting blood donors and blood collections personnel alike), disruption to supply chains, and economic sustainability. COVID-19 imparted lessons on how to offset these challenges, which may be applied to future pandemics and public health crises. Expert Opinion: Pandemic emergency preparedness plans should be implemented or revised by blood centers and hospitals to lessen the impact to the blood supply. Comprehensive planning should address the timely assessment of risk to the blood supply, rapid donor recruitment, and communication of need, measures to preserve safety for donors and operational staff, careful blood management, and resource sharing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-514
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Hematology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Blood donation
  • Blood transfusion
  • Disaster planning
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

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