Hyderabad: Lockdown and vaccination drive hit thalassemia | Live Newspaper Hyderabad

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HYDERABAD: Ongoing lockdown clubbed with Covid vaccination drives have dried up blood reserves at several blood banks in the city as well as districts.
With a 35%-40% shortage of supply, many patients are hit, worst being thalassemia patients.
Many children with thalassemia, with critically low haemoglobin levels below 5, were awaiting blood transfusion for over a month now, severly affecting their quality of life and posing a threat to their life.
“We have a few such kids with us awaiting blood transfusions, who are overdue for one to two months now. A thalassemia patient requires a transfusion every 15 days when their haemoglobin levels dip from 12 (normal) to 8. After the due date, it keeps falling further,” Dhiraj Kaveri, blood coordinator, Arohi Blood Bank, which caters to thalassemia patients, told TOI.
“While haemoglobin level below 8 itself is dangerous, levels lower than 5 can be life-threatening and can result in cardiac arrest. Currently, we have a waiting list of 34 patients, but with the lockdown and ongoing vaccination drives, we are seeing just 2-4 donations per day,” Kaveri added.
“We are forced to ration blood units. We are supplying based on a patient’s condition and level of emergency,” admitted an official from another blood bank. Also, a problem with regular donors is that they are not in a rush to donate.
“When we call regular donors requesting them to donate, they say we will come next month as they tend to look at other cases as an emergency but feel that it is okay to delay donation for thalassemia patients,” said Mohammad Kareem, parent of a six-year-old patient awaiting B negative blood, urging people to donate blood before going for vaccination.
As majority donors fall in the 18-44 age-group, now with the vaccination kicking off for this category, it might be more difficult to get donors, especially a bigger dip being likely in June.
Explaining the scenario, Red Cross Blood Bank medical officer Dr KP Reddy said, “Typically, a donor can donate blood 15 days after vaccination, which means that there will a gap of 15-20 days in the donation for each donor who goes for vaccination.While we are having enough supply in Hyderabad due to tie-ups with police and other organisations, there is a shortage in other blood banks and districts,” Dr Reddy added.

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