Te Awamutu has well and truly answered the call to donate blood - filling all available appointments at the Blood Drive in town this Thursday.

The NZ Blood Service appreciates that people are being cautious during the COVID-19 lock-down, but say supplies of blood are urgently needed and reassured donors that a 'robust' process is in place to ensure that the Blood Drives and Donor Centres are safe places to visit.

The highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness are adhered to. All equipment used in the collection of blood is new, sterile and only used once and extra measures are in place to keep our staff and donors safe.

Anyone who wanted to donate, but missed out on an appointment can still help by making an appointment at the Hamilton Blood Donor Centre at Waikato Hospital.

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Donating blood is an essential service and donors with an appointment are entitled to travel.

Sam Cliffe, CEO New Zealand Blood Service, says without the goodwill of volunteer blood donors "we may be unable to supply blood and blood products to patients who require this as part of their medical treatment".

"Respiratory viruses, such as Covid-19, are generally not known to be transmitted by donation or transfusion.

"New Zealand has relied on the generosity and compassion of its donors during previous challenging times and we therefore confident that they will once again answer the call by donating life-saving blood during this unsettling time in human history," says Sam.

"Blood can only be stored for a short time and blood transfusions need to continue for those patients in desperate need of blood, so we need a constant flow of donors. "

New donors must be aged between 16 and 66. Existing donors can continue until their 71st birthday and regular donors will be considered until their 76th birthday. Donors must weigh over 50kg.

To find out if you meet other criteria you can take the quiz at nzblood.co.nz/give-blood/donating/am-i-eligible/

Booking is essential: Phone 0800 448 325, go to nzblood.co.nz or download the NZ Blood Service app.

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