More than 100,000 persons donated blood in 2021 – despite challenges associated with the coronavirus

In 2021, 113,000 persons registered to donate blood. Whole blood was donated slightly over 185,000 times in total. Nearly 90 blood donation events will be organised during March in different parts of Finland.

“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on blood donation could still be seen during the second year of the pandemic and activating blood donors was also very challenging at times. But thanks to voluntary blood donors, we were able to provide hospitals with the blood products needed by patients,” says Satu Pastila, Director of Blood Donation Operations at the Blood Service.

Measures taken to ensure the safety of blood donors during the pandemic included enhanced hygiene, safe distancing, appointment booking and recommending the use of face masks. There have been no known transmissions in blood donation facilities. The coronavirus is not transmitted through blood.

There were nearly 16,000 first-time donors, 14% of all blood donors. During the pandemic, a sufficient number of blood donors has been found to be critical to maintaining reliable supplies of blood products under both normal and exceptional circumstances. For this reason, it is planned to increase the number of new blood donors in the coming years.

“Many blood donors give a helping hand year after year and are greatly committed to helping patients. However, we need more new blood donors for exceptional circumstances. Some 800 blood donors are needed every working day, and new blood donors are vital for continuity,” Pastila says.

Persons wishing to donate blood for the first time must be aged between 18 and 59. Those donating regularly may continue until they turn 71. Blood donation is recommended up to 3-4 times a year for men, up to 2-3 times a year for women over 25, and not more than once a year for women aged 18-25.

The Red Cross helps victims of Ukraine crisis

As part of the International Red Cross, the Finnish Red Cross actively provides support to people facing the crisis in Ukraine. The Finnish Red Cross has started an emergency appeal and will also send aid workers to support the aid operation of the International Red Cross. Further information:

The Blood Service has been asked if blood donated in Finland could be used to help patients in Ukraine. In crisis situations, the aim is to supply blood products, medicines and other materials from as close to the crisis area as possible. The supply of red blood cells and platelets requires an unbroken logistical chain, and thus they cannot be delivered from Finland to the conflict area in Ukraine.

Last modified: 24.02.2023