Australians are being urged to roll up their sleeves and donate blood as a burgeoning flu season causes supplies to plummet.

Some 17,500 people are urgently needed to donate blood within the next week or stocks could fall to just two days worth by midweek, according to Australian Red Cross Lifeblood.

The fall in stocks of A, O and B stocks has been caused by cancellations and no shows amid the cold, flu and COVID-19 season, Executive Director of Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Cath Stone said.

“We know people are sick with cold and flu. We know people’s children are unwell and keeping donors at home,” Ms Stone said.

“And we know many people are still having to isolate due to COVID.

“We are pleading with anyone who is well and healthy to book a donation today and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

“We have 15,500 blood donations booked in for the next week, but based on current cancellations and no-shows, we know a large number of these won’t result in a donation.”

Even without cancellations, there remain thousands of appointments still to be filled, Ms Stone said.

“There are patients in hospital right now who are relying on blood for cancer treatment, surgery, accidents and complicated births,” she said.

“Every blood donation can help to save up to three lives.”

People wanting to donate blood can book an appointment at, on the DonateBlood app or by calling 13 14 95.

Number of appointments needed across Australia:

NSW – 4500

Victoria – 4500

Queensland – 4000

WA – 1900

SA – 1400

ACT – 800

Tasmania – 600

NT – 200

National – 17,500

Phoebe Loomes
(Australian Associated Press)