“To date, the reserves of blood and blood components are stable, with the situation being comfortable and not giving rise to any concern”, a source from the Portuguese Institute of Blood and Transplantation (IPST) told Lusa.

At the end of January, the institute launched several appeals to increase donations, taking into account that there was a “great difficulty in maintaining stable blood component reserves”, largely due to the covid-19 pandemic, which prevented many donors from, travelling to donation centres.

According to the IPST, at that time, there were several situations that contributed to the drop in reserves, such as the “peak of covid-19 infections with prophylactic isolation”, but also the remaining respiratory infections and unfavourable weather conditions.

Although the situation is now stable, the same source added that, in addition to “global challenges”, such as demographic changes and emerging diseases, blood donations are subject to seasonal variations.

“The most critical months are January and February, due to respiratory infections and, although less markedly, the summer period”, said the IPST.

According to the institute, blood donations suffered a 7% reduction in 2020, although, with the decrease in hospital care activity, it was possible “always to respond to existing needs”.

This drop in the first year of the pandemic was followed by an “important recovery” in 2021, with a reversal of the trend seen since 2008 of a decrease in the number of donations and donors, stressed the IPST.

According to the same source, in 2021 there was an increase in the number of donors who made donations and first-time donors, a trend that seems to continue this year.