AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Augusta VA Health Care System is hosting blood drives in partnership with Shepeard Community Blood Center.

Officials say that health care facilities across the region are facing significant blood shortages so they are encouraging everyone in the community to participate.

The blood drives will take place August 9th from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. at the Uptown Augusta campus, 1 Freedom Way and September 23rd from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. at the Downtown Augusta campus, 950 15th Street.

Officials also say that any previously deferred donors who were turned away due to “Mad Cow Disease” are now able to donate blood, platelets, and plasma due to the updated FDA guidance.

According to the FDA, the new guidance removes the deferral associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease also known as Mad Cow Disease for time spent in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996; time spent in France and Ireland from 1980-2001; and receipt of a blood transfusion in the U.K., France, or Ireland from 1980-present.

Walk-ins and appointments are welcome at the blood drive, but anyone interested in making an appointment beforehand can call Shepeard Blood Center at 706-737-4551.