16-Year-Olds Can Now Donate Blood In Vermont

April 25, 2012

Vermont high school students look on as Governor Peter Shumlin signs House Bill 760 into law, allowing 16-year-olds to donate blood in Vermont.BURLINGTON, VT – Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law on Tuesday, April 24, effectively lowering the minimum age of blood donation from 17 to 16 in Vermont. Upon the signing of House Bill 760, Vermont became the 39th state to allow 16-year-olds the opportunity to give the gift of life for patients in need. The Red Cross requires parental consent for 16-year-olds to donate blood and estimates the new law will add over 1000 additional blood donors each year in Vermont.

“We are very appreciative of the time and consideration given to this important bill by the Vermont legislature,” stated Michael Kempesty, CEO, American Red Cross Blood Services, Northern New England Region. “High school blood drives provide an important environment for the next generation of blood donors to become aware of the importance of volunteer blood donation in a comfortable, familiar environment. As older donors who have been giving blood regularly become ineligible to donate due to medical conditions and other life changes, it becomes increasingly important for this new generation of donors to become committed to helping save lives in this meaningful way.”

According to the Red Cross, almost 50,000 units of blood are collected in Vermont every year at over 860 blood drives across the state. Seventy-five of these blood drives take place in Vermont high schools, where last year over 3900 units of blood were donated for patients in need.

Most adults who are 110 pounds or more and in good health may donate blood through the Red Cross. The Red Cross requires that blood donors under the age of 19 may need to meet additional height and weight requirements.

Blood is used to treat a wide variety of life-threatening conditions, including surgery, trauma, support of cancer treatment, premature births as well as many others. Anyone wishing to make an appointment to donate blood is encouraged to call 1-800 RED CROSS or visit online at redcrossblood.org.