Immediate need to fill blood donation appointments continues through the holidays

DEC. 29, 2021 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services continues to have an immediate need for blood donors this holiday season to help ensure blood and blood products are available for patients in need.

There are thousands of open blood donation appointments to fill across Canada between now and January 4, 2022. New and returning donors are encouraged to join Canada’s Lifeline heading into January. Select donor centres across the country will be open on New Year’s Day, in addition to regularly scheduled operating hours.

Because of statutory holidays during the month of December, several days of collection opportunities were lost. The need for platelets is pressing and ongoing to treat patients with serious blood disorders or those undergoing cancer treatments. Platelets are a vital blood component with a shelf-life of only seven days. New blood donations are needed to ensure platelets are available.

“The holiday period is a challenging time to collect blood. Every donation counts and new and returning donors are especially needed right now to book and keep blood donation appointments heading into the New Year,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations. “We have seen the dedication of donors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we need that to continue. Patients’ lives depend on them.”

With rising concerns of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, many people are considering a change in their holiday plans, but the ongoing need for blood for patients remains the same. Donors are asked to book and keep their appointments. Appointments are necessary as part of the COVID-19 protocol. Canadian Blood Services is a fully vaccinated workplace with enhanced wellness measures in place throughout all donor centres. If donors are not able to come in for their appointment, it is very important that they cancel as early as possible. This allows Canadian Blood Services the opportunity to fill the appointment and ensure collections are met.

“There is a lot of uncertainty during a pandemic, but there are always patients in need of blood and blood products,” says Prinzen. “With the exception of any temporary COVID-19 related suspensions of donor centre operations, we will remain open to ensure essential products and services are available for patients. We are calling on new and returning donors to book an appointment now, heading into January.”

While all blood types help patients, O-negative blood is especially needed by hospitals because it is the only type compatible with all other blood types. When seconds count, someone’s life is on the line, and there’s no time to check blood type, hospital patients in an emergency can all receive O-negative blood.

If you are thinking of ways to help during these challenging times, donating blood or plasma is a positive way to support your community while staying safe. Canadian Blood Services is considered an essential service and exempt from lockdown orders. Same day and open appointments spots are available every day at many donor centres and community events across the country. To book or change a blood donation appointment today, locate a donor centre, check your eligibility to donate blood and more, download the GiveBlood app or visit