Suspension of group swabbing events in response to COVID-19 pandemic

UPDATE: All stem cell swabbing (including at home kits), and blood typing events have now been suspended until further notice

March 13, 2020 – Effective immediately, Canadian Blood Services is suspending all buccal swabbing events across the country and encouraging the public to register online to get their swab kit delivered in the mail.

This suspension aligns with guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada to minimize the amount of time individuals spend in large crowds or in crowded spaces in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. It also is consistent with the public health measures being implemented by many of the provinces 

The safety of registrants and their families is of utmost importance to us. We will be re-assessing this decision in 30 days.

For patients and families who might be concerned, both Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry and Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank are members of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA) — an international network of registries and cord blood banks that share a global database where all potential donors and cord blood units are listed. As cases of COVID-19 continue to emerge across the world, WMDA has launched a special COVID-19 webpage that is publicly available and updated regularly when new information is shared by member organizations, professional societies and courier companies. 

Canadian Blood Services will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide updates as they are received. Our stem cell registry will continue to coordinate searches in Canada, as well as other international registries to help patients get the stem cells they need. Any critical information is being communicated to the corresponding transplant centre and/or registry to ensure that life-saving products are safely transported to patients in need. Our donors will continue to be screened for active infections and travel history. 

In addition to the cancellation of the swabbing events, Canadian Blood Services is also suspending our popular “What’s Your Type” events across the country. These are events that are frequently held in public spaces like shopping malls inviting people to find out their blood types. We will revisit this cancellation as well in the coming weeks. 

If you require assistance regarding activations currently in progress for any of the international registries in countries where COVID-19 cases have been recorded, please reach out to the transplant services coordinator team at

For the latest information, visit our COVID-19 update