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Red Cross Blood Service calls for 900 new donors as flu season hits

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service has called for 900 new blood donors in Canberra over winter.

About 10,000 Canberrans actively donate blood but the flu season is expected to force about 100 donors each week to cancel nationally.

Even people with a runny nose should steer clear of donating with the Red Cross unable take their donation.

High-school student Sophie New, 17, was donating blood for the first time on Friday after hearing an ad on ABC's Triple J.

"It doesn't take long and you can help a lot of people just by doing something simple," Ms New said.

"I've never had a fear of needles, I thought I should just get around to doing it."

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There had been seven new donors from Ms New's school in the last two days.

Law student Arthy Ananthapavan, 21, had a less common blood type and was told it was more valuable if donated as plasma.

"This is a one second jab to help someone out," Ms Ananthapavan said.

"[Red Cross] said we ne need this now, more than we normally do."

Session leader Jeanette Shute was managing the mobile donor centre set up in a Dickson parking lot.

She said a seven minutes donation could save three people's lives.

"We've had a couple of cancellations today but it hasn't been too bad," Ms Shute said. "Generally it's because they're unwell."

Red Cross Blood Services spokesperson Jemma Falkenmire said there were 37,059 donors registered in the ACT giving 15,146 donations a year totalling over 18,000 litres of blood.

The mobile centre's last day in Dickson was Friday. Interested donors can still donate at the Red Cross House in Garran.