New and returning donors needed to support patients through Omicron

JAN. 31, 2022 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is calling for new and returning donors to replenish the blood, platelet and plasma supply and support patients through the latest COVID-19 wave.

The platelet inventory and days on hand of several blood types are at low levels. This is a pivotal time to reverse concerning trends and ensure that we fill all available appointments in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.

“Like other organizations across Canada, the latest COVID-19 wave is challenging Canadian Blood Services like never before,” says Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services.

“As Omicron continues to spread across the country, it is also impacting our operations. Our employees and donors are among those falling ill or being required to isolate. For these reasons, and also because of severe weather in parts of the country, we’ve seen a concerning drop in donations recently. By booking appointments over the next several weeks, donors can help us reverse this worrying trend before the situation becomes urgent.”

In addition, Canada needs many more donors, new and returning, to help us meet patient needs now and into the future. Since the pandemic began, the number of donors in Canada has been steadily declining. Regular donors impacted by the latest wave of COVID-19 can’t give if they are sick or required to isolate.

“Today, new donors are more important than ever. One in two people in Canada are eligible to donate blood, plasma, and platelets, but only one in 81 does. The problem is that we’re relying on a very small group of people to meet the needs of the country,” says Dr. Sher.

“Whether you choose to donate blood or plasma this week, next week or next month, all donors are an important part of Canada’s Lifeline. We also need donors to continue to be patient, and adapt with us, through this period of change and uncertainty. Lives depend on it,” he says.

People ineligible to donate whole blood may be eligible to donate plasma. Since the red blood cells are returned to the donor’s body and only the plasma is taken, donors can give plasma much more frequently. Men can donate every week and women are able to give every two weeks.

If you’ve never donated before, and are well and able to leave home, please book an appointment. If you can’t book an appointment to donate right away, please consider booking one for next month.

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.

Visit or download the GiveBlood app today to book or change a blood donation appointment, find a donor centre or check your eligibility to donate blood or plasma.