Questions and answers: Blood and Plasma Donation
For non-COVID-19 related questions, please visit our blood, platelets and plasma pages.
Do I need an appointment to donate blood?
Yes, appointments are required to donate blood and we offer same-day appointments. We ask all eligible donors to book an appointment online at blood.ca, on the GiveBlood app, or by calling 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
Can I donate blood if I had COVID-19?
Those who have contracted COVID-19 will be deferred, and the amount of days deferred depends on their symptoms and recovery. A person who had COVID-19 and was asymptomatic is not eligible to donate blood for 14 days after a positive test. If the infected person was symptomatic but not hospitalized, they must wait to donate for 14 days after a full recovery. If the person was hospitalized, they cannot donate until 21 days after a full recovery. For more information about eligibility, we ask donors to call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
Are masks mandatory to enter a Canadian Blood Services site?
We’ve determined it’s the right time to suspend some of our mandatory measures, such as masks and physical distancing. Our suspension of these measures aligns with epidemiological advice: that we are at a stage in this pandemic where we can shift from mandatory to optional measures.
Although no longer required, masks are known to help curb the spread of COVID- 19 and are welcome in our environments and available to anyone who chooses to wear them. Everyone has their reasons for wearing or not wearing a mask. Please be respectful of their choice.
We have been committed to monitoring and assessing our COVID-19 measures and will continue to closely monitor the epidemiology and scientific knowledge. We may reintroduce mandatory masks and physical distancing if necessary.
Will masks be available to employees, donors, volunteers and visitors?
Yes. Masks, including N95s, will still be available to staff, volunteers, donors and visitors.
What COVID-19 preventative measures do you have in place?
Although no longer required, masks are welcome in our environments and available to anyone who chooses to wear them.
At this time, it is not mandatory to maintain two meters of distance, but people may choose to physically distance themselves from others if possible while at our facilities and collection events.
Hand sanitizer is available throughout our collection spaces.
Before entering our facilities and collection events, everyone must review our wellness questions available at the entrance. Donors, employees/volunteers are asked not to enter if they are feeling unwell, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or said ‘yes’ to any of the questions on our wellness poster.
High-touch surfaces are cleaned regularly and donor beds are wiped down after each use.
Employees and volunteers at Canadian Blood Services are vaccinated against COVID-19. To help safeguard our environment, we strongly encourage all donors entering our collections events to be fully vaccinated too.
Thank you doing your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 and for respecting each person’s choice to wear a mask or practice physical distancing.
Do I need to be vaccinated to enter a donation event?
A donor’s vaccination status is not a requirement for entry to a collections event, however; to help safeguard our environments, we strongly encourage donors to be fully vaccinated before entering a collections event. Donors are not required to provide proof of vaccination and we will not turn away unvaccinated donors. A donor may be required to show proof of vaccination at certain events where the property owner requires it.
Is COVID-19 transmissible by blood or blood products?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, blood transfusions have been closely monitored and there has been no evidence of COVID-19 being transmissible through blood and blood products. This includes plasma protein products, which are pharmaceutical therapies made from plasma — a component of blood. Canadian Blood Services has strict measures in place to ensure the continued safety of our products and services related to blood, plasma, stem cells, and organs and tissues.
Should I stay home if I’m not feeling well?
We ask our donors to stay at home if they are not feeling well, since only healthy people are eligible to donate blood. Potential donors are pre-screened for any signs of sickness when they book the appointment. If you are not feeling well on the day of your appointment, please reschedule for a later date.
There are other ways you can help save lives during this time. You may be eligible to register to donate stem cells and organs and tissues. Financial gifts to Canadian Blood Services also help make a difference for patients by supporting donor recruitment efforts and strengthening our national programs and initiatives for life essentials.
What if I fall ill after donating?
As with any donation if you fall ill up to 14 days after your donation, please contact us at 1-888 2-DONATE
Should I contact Canadian Blood Services if I am investigated by public health as either a case of COVID-19, or a contact of a case of COVID-19?
Yes, we ask everyone to please contact Canadian Blood Services if they are a blood donor and are investigated by public health as either a case of COVID-19 or a contact of a case of COVID-19.
How are your employees being screened in donor centres?
- Employees are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms and not report to work if they are feeling unwell or have come into contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19.
- All Canadian Blood Services employees, without a legitimate medical or human rights exception are required to be fully vaccinated with a Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine.
What is the COVID-19 protocol if I require a support person during my donation?
A support person (e.g. personal support worker, family member or friend) may accompany a donor with a disability throughout the donation process, EXCEPT during the confidential screening process. Only certified sign language interpreters and Canadian Blood Services employees are permitted in our screening booths with donors.
All individuals, including support persons, are required to pass our COVID-19 wellness check.
I have travelled in the last 14 days. Can I still donate?
There are no travel restrictions related to COVID-19 but you are encouraged to review other travel restrictions or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) if you’re unsure of your eligibility.
Can I wear my own mask?
Yes, you can wear your own mask. Surgical face and N95 masks provided by Canadian Blood Services are also available.
Are donors allowed to consume snacks and drinks inside?
Yes, pre-donation salty snacks and water can be consumed inside. Post-donation snacks and hydration can also be consumed in the refreshment area.
Have governments asked Canadian Blood Services to help with performing COVID-19 antibody testing on the general public?
Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec have formed a research partnership with the national COVID-19 Immunity Task Force to determine the prevalence of the antibody against COVID-19 in Canadians’ blood.
This partnership was announced by the federal government on June 17, 2020 and continues to operate. To date, we have tested nearly half a million samples.
Canadian Blood Services routinely tests donor blood samples for infectious disease and unexpected antibodies. Not all samples collected during donations over the coming months will be part of the seroprevalence study.
The study has provided policy-makers an understanding of the actual COVID-19 infection rate for different groups and regions in Canada.
The data collected for the purposes of the study is subjected to Canadian Blood Services’ research ethics board protocols. The research is being conducted using de-identified data.
Is there a deferral period for donors who receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Donors who receive the COVID-19 vaccine do not require a deferral period.
Our Donor Selection Criteria Manual working group (DSCM) conducted a review of the four Health Canada authorized vaccines for COVID-19 (Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty®, Moderna Spikevax®, AstraZeneca Vaxzevria®, and Johnson & Johnson) as well as those under development and determined they will not impact donation eligibility.
Internationally, blood supplier regulators have chosen to apply varying lengths of temporary deferral from blood donation after receiving particular vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines. Like Health Canada, other national regulators, such as the U.S. FDA, do not require a deferral from blood donation after receipt of a nonreplicating, inactivated, or mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. Accordingly, the American Red Cross does not defer donors who indicate that they had received a non-live COVID-19 vaccine. The American Red Cross does have a deferral period of two weeks if donors cannot recall which vaccine they received.
You can find more information about COVID-19 vaccines and blood donation at https://www.blood.ca/en/covid19/vaccines-and-blood-donation
Is it safe to receive blood or blood products from a donor who has had the COVID-19 vaccine?
Our ultimate priority is the health of the patient. As part of our mandate to provide a safe, accessible blood supply to Canadians, medical and scientific professionals at Canadian Blood Services carefully review and assess each vaccine authorized for use in Canada. Health Canada has not recommended or imposed any restriction on the use of the four authorized COVID-19 vaccines and blood donation. All new vaccines are assessed by the medical professionals at Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, in conjunction with recommendations by Health Canada, and informed by scientific evidence.
Health Canada has indicated that no blood donor deferral is required for any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines. This is consistent with Canadian Blood Services’ donor eligibility criteria for other non-live vaccines, for which no donor deferral is required, and is in line with the practice of other blood operators.
Blood collected from donors who have received any of the current Health Canada-authorized COVID-19 vaccines has not been associated with any adverse transfusion reaction that has been attributable to vaccination of the donor.
Is Canadian Blood Services involved in the collection of convalescent plasma for a potential treatment for COVID-19?
Canadian Blood Services was involved in an international study that looked at whether convalescent plasma could be used as a potential treatment for COVID-19. We contributed by collecting and supplying plasma from fully recovered COVID-19 patients in Canada. Results of the study can be found here.
Can I donate blood if I have been exposed to COVID-19?
You will not be eligible to donate blood if you:
- Have had any exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case in the last 14 days. (Exemptions: You are a healthcare worker or first responder, routine practices were used and you are asymptomatic)
- Have had any exposure to a suspected COVID-19 case in the last 14 days and are experiencing symptoms
If you are unsure of your own eligibility, please consult our ABCs of eligibility page or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
What is the COVID-19 protocol if I require a sign language interpreter?
If a donor requires assistance from a sign language interpreter throughout the screening process, we can arrange for a qualified interpreter to accompany them through the screening and donation process, at no cost. We do need advance notice of three weeks in order to arrange for a qualified sign language interpreter for a donor’s preferred appointment time.
All individuals, including sign language interpreters, are required to pass our COVID-19 wellness criteria.
To request a sign language interpreter, please contact us through our live chat feature on blood.ca or call us toll free at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) using a message relay service or video relay service.
Questions and answers: Plasma Protein and Related Products
What about medicines made from plasma? Is COVID-19 transmissible through Plasma Protein Products?
Current evidence and risk modelling suggest that COVID-19 is not transmissible through blood and blood products. This includes plasma protein products, which are pharmaceutical therapies made from plasma — a component of blood. In general, plasma protein products are extremely safe because of the added steps in the manufacturing process that inactivate or remove viruses.
What is Canadian Blood Services’ role when it comes to plasma protein products?
We are the national blood authority and blood system operator, which includes the collection of plasma for manufacturing into plasma protein products. In addition, Canadian Blood Services is responsible for the procurement and distribution of all plasma protein and related products to hospitals and clinics across Canada, on behalf of the provincial and territorial health systems (excluding Quebec).
We take this responsibility very seriously and we do everything we can to safeguard the activities that fall within our authority. This includes regular collaboration with health-care partners, patient groups and manufacturers to ensure clinicians have access to a safe and reliable national inventory of plasma protein and related products to care for their patients.
The ongoing situation with COVID-19 is unprecedented, and Canadian Blood Services is focused on doing our part to help keep patients, families and communities safe.
How are decisions related to plasma protein products and the impact of COVID-19 being made?
While the ongoing situation with COVID-19 is unprecedented, pandemic plans are in place and we are prepared to respond appropriately, as needed. Pandemic planning to safeguard the supply of blood and blood products is led by the National Emergency Blood Management Committee, which includes representation from provincial and territorial health systems, the National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products and Canadian Blood Services.
To reduce my risk of exposure, can I send a designate to pick up my prescribed allotment of products from the hospital instead?
It is our understanding that individual health systems and/or hospitals have taken measures, where able, to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
We encourage patients to check with their local hospital or clinic staff to see whether procedures to assign a designate are in place or can be initiated to limit the potential risk of exposure during product pick up.
Can I pick up a larger allotment of the treatment I need to reduce the number of trips to the hospital I have to make to pick up my prescription?
Patients who self-administer plasma protein and related products at home pick up their products from hospitals and clinics as ordered by their doctor. The refill quantity is also determined by their doctor.
To balance the risk of potential exposure while maintaining the security of supply, as directed by the National Emergency Blood Management Committee, Canadian Blood Services will support hospitals and their patients by ensuring that the national inventory of plasma protein and related products will allow for a maximum refill quantity of three months of product for patients who are prescribed home infusion therapies.
Questions and answers: Stem Cells
For non-COVID-19 related questions, please visit our stem cells and cord blood pages.
Can I join the registry if I have had COVID-19?
Individuals who have had COVID-19, can still join the registry. However, if you are selected for additional testing or you are the best match for a patient, you will be asked to complete a comprehensive health screening and a COVID-19 questionnaire to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria to donate stem cells.
Has COVID-19 had any impact on Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry?
As with blood and blood products, Canadians rely on us to keep the national stem cell program (excluding Quebec) safe and we take this responsibility very seriously.
Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry is a member 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 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 pandemic 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.
Also, at the beginning of the pandemic, we suspended all in-person buccal swabbing events across the country in line 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.This suspension was consistent with the public health measures implemented by many of the provinces. However, as provinces begin to adjust public health measures as a result of the declining number of cases, we will be resuming in-person buccal swabbing events across the country on a yet to be determined date. We will notify the public once we are set to resume those events. In the meantime, we continue to encourage the public to register online and get their swab kit delivered in the mail.
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 email@example.com.
Has COVID-19 had any impact on Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank?
As the impact of COVID-19 unfolded in 2020, Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank temporarily suspended cord blood collections at its four collection hospitals in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver. The suspension which lasted for approximately four months was guided by the recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the increasing hospital restrictions to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Additionally, in June 2022, Canadian Blood Services suspended the processing and banking of new cord blood donations for approximately three months because of a global shortage of cord blood processing kits. We expect to be able to resume regular processing and banking in September 2022.
Nevertheless, we will continue to collect cord blood during this temporary period for quality assurance activities such as training, validation, and product/process improvement, and for our Cord Blood for Research Program. Thus, regardless of the timing, we encourage parents-to-be to continue registering to donate their babies’ cord blood if they plan to deliver in Ottawa, Brampton, Vancouver, or Edmonton.
We recognize and understand there may be concerns about the health and safety of mothers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To maximize donor safety throughout the cord blood collection process, our partner hospitals have put appropriate physical distancing measures in place and will be taking every precaution, including the use of personal protective equipment. We are committed to ensuring mothers have a safe and rewarding donor experience.
Is it safe to go to a collection centre for my physical examination and to donate stem cells during the COVID-19 pandemic?
As the organization responsible for the national stem cell registry and cord blood bank outside Quebec, we are determined to keep our promise to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian. To do that we require the ongoing generosity and commitment of donors. Patients depend on these lifesaving donations. At the same time, we want to ensure the safety of our donors, employees and volunteers.
Canadian Blood Services is working closely with collection centres as well as with provincial/territorial partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, Héma-Quebec, international blood agencies and the World Health Organization to ensure the safety of everyone.
Our collection centres have appropriate physical distancing measures in place and will be taking every precaution, including the use of personal protective equipment. We are always committed to ensuring you have a safe, efficient and rewarding donor experience. All prospective donors are carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones.
What is Canadian Blood Services doing to ensure donor safety?
Donor health and safety is our top priority. We understand that these are worrying times for both donors and patients. Thus, we have put several steps in place to support donors and ensure their safety.
To minimize physical interactions with adult donors, all donors undergo screening for symptoms of illness over the phone with a case manager at Canadian Blood Services before going to the collection centre – the hospital where the donor will donate their stem cells. Also, collection centres in Canada will be taking every precaution to maximize donor safety throughout the process. This includes physical distancing, staggered appointment times to avoid crowding of waiting areas, appropriate personal protective equipment for the physical exam, blood draws, and apheresis (most centres are using surgical masks for all interactions with patients and donors).
The decision to conduct bone marrow will be assessed on a case by case basis, and will only be accommodated in exceptional situations. All peripheral blood stem cell collections will be done in a single session where possible, and without the insertion of central venous catheters – if possible. These measures should minimize exposures and maximize donor safety. Case managers will follow-up with donors only by telephone.
We are encouraging transplant centres to choose donors who live in proximity to collection centres. We are also keeping a list of available hotels for donors who would need accommodation.
For pregnant people donating their babies’ cord blood during the pandemic, we are taking every step to maximize donor safety throughout the cord blood collection process. Our partner hospitals have put appropriate physical distancing measures in place and will be taking every precaution, including the use of personal protective equipment. We are committed to ensuring pregnant individuals have a safe and rewarding donor experience.
In addition to these steps, we have provided FAQs for staff to provide donors with the answers they need. We are also publishing regular updates on blood.ca to provide donors with facts and reassurance.
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing quickly. As the situation evolves, we will continue to make sure that we keep our donors, patients and employees informed of any changes.
What if I change my mind about donating stem cells?
You are free to decline to donate at any point in the process. Your decision will be confidential.
However, it is important to be aware that there is a serious risk of death to the patient if you decide to withdraw after his or her radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment has begun. You will be told in advance exactly when the patient will start this treatment and given every opportunity to decline before that date.
Why did you suspend the swabbing event in XYZ?
In line with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines on mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, we suspended all stem cell in-person swabbing events across the country 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. We are encouraging the public to join the registry from the convenience of their home by registering online at blood.ca/stemcells to receive a swab kit delivered to their home by mail.
Your decision to join our registry is essential to protect our most vulnerable community members. At the same time, we care about the health of our registrants, patients, employees and volunteers. Only healthy people are eligible to donate stem cells.
Canadian Blood Services will continue to evaluate the latest evidence and work closely with provincial/territorial partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, Héma-Quebec, international blood agencies and the World Health Organization to ensure the safety of everyone during the pandemic.
Does the COVID-19 pandemic call for increased recruitment of Canadian registrants?
Yes. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the logistics of stem cell transplants challenging due to international border closures, travel restrictions and the general health of donors. This means patients and transplant centres are now relying on more potential donors from Canada. We need more healthy Canadians, who are between 17 and 35 years old, to register online and get their swab kit delivered in the mail.
Financial gifts to Canadian Blood Services also help make a difference for patients by supporting donor recruitment efforts and strengthening our national stem cell program and initiatives.
What is the process to register online?
To register online for stem cell donation, visit blood.ca/stemcells. You will be asked to read through the stem cell registration information. Being an informed donor is a vital part of the process.
- Once you have read through all the key information about joining the stem cell registry, you may proceed to completing the registration questionnaire.
- If you’ve determined that you meet the eligibility requirements, you will need to create a personal online donor profile. If you already have a donor account, you will be asked to sign in and complete your registration and consent forms.
- Within 5 to 10 business days, you will receive a self-swabbing kit in the mail with instructions on how to perform a buccal (cheek) swab. This is to help determine your HLA type and fully complete your registration. Watch this video with instructions on how to complete and return your buccal swab to Canadian Blood Services.
- We may contact you by phone if we have further questions about your health (based on your responses from your registration information). Please note that your final eligibility rests with the registry team.
- You will be notified when this process is complete and that you are now officially on the registry.
Does it cost me anything to register online?
No. Registration is free, and you won't be charged for any part of the testing or donation process. We also reimburse the necessary expenses you incur during stem cell donation process. For example, if you must go to another city or province for the procedure, your travel and accommodation costs are covered for you and a companion. While the procedure and recovery will take you away from work for a short time, trends have shown that most employers are willing to give sick leave or paid leave to stem cell donors.
Where can I find more information?
More information on the novel coronavirus can be found at the links below:
- Suspension of group swabbing events in response to COVID-19 pandemic
- Suspension of cord blood collections in response to COVID-19 pandemic
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- World Health Organization
More information on Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Program:
With masking gone, will in-person swabbing events be resuming soon?
As provinces begin to adjust public health measures in line with the declining numbers of cases, we will consider resuming in-person buccal swabbing events across the country in the future. We will notify the public once we are set to resume those events.
Questions and answers: Organs and Tissues
For non-COVID-19 related questions, please visit our living kidney donation and deceased donation pages.
Is COVID-19 affecting deceased organ donation and transplantation?
Canadian Blood Services continues to work closely with the OTDT community, our national advisory committees, the Canadian Society of Transplantation, and other stakeholders to monitor how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affects organ donation and transplantation. Because the situation continues to evolve and is unique in each jurisdiction, please contact your donation or transplant program for more information.
Is it safe to have a transplant during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A transplant can save a life, but it also weakens the immune system, which makes someone more likely to get sick from viruses. All organ donors are being tested for COVID-19, but the virus spreads easily. That’s why transplant teams across Canada are determining how best to proceed for the health of their patients. Talk to your transplant team if you have more questions.
Can organs of deceased donors be transplanted if the donor contracted COVID-19 before their death?
All potential donors are evaluated on an individual medical, case-by-case basis.
Is the Kidney Paired Donation program still operating?
The Kidney Paired Donation program has resumed after a temporary pause in response to COVID-19. The team is working with the living donation and transplant programs across the country to safely match donor and patient pairs to help enable more kidney transplants in Canada.
Has the Highly Sensitized Patient program been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Highly Sensitized Patient (HSP) program continues to operate.
Individual programs determine if an offer from the registry can be accepted based on their hospital’s policies and processes for deceased donor organ transplantation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Has eye or tissue donation and transplant been impacted by the pandemic?
In response to COVID-19, hospitals cancelled elective surgeries, resulting in a reduced demand for tissues. Collection and transplant of tissues has since resumed. Local transplant programs will continue to determine how best to proceed for the health of their patients and have their own measures in place for emergencies. For more information, please contact your local transplant program.
I’m on a waitlist, will I still get a transplant?
During COVID-19, Canada’s transplant programs are reviewing cases individually and will determine whether it is safe to proceed with transplantation. After having a transplant your immune system is weak, making you more likely to get sick. Your transplant physician can advise on whether a transplant is appropriate for you during the pandemic.
Will patients lose their place on the waitlist if delays or cancellations continue?
No. Transplant programs continue to weigh the risks and benefits of who can safely be transplanted when an organ becomes available.
Now that elective surgeries have resumed, will my previously scheduled transplant be a priority in the surgery backlogs?
There are many factors that will affect how each hospital will prioritize procedures and clear backlogs. For the most accurate information, we recommend you contact your transplant program to discuss your own personal circumstances and potential timing for a transplant.
If I was approved to donate, will I be tested for COVID-19?
I was previously tested for COVID-19 and ready to donate/receive a transplant. Will I need to be tested again?
Transplant teams review individual cases and determine how best to proceed for the health of the patient and the donor. Potential organ donors are tested for COVID-19. If they test positive, they will not be able to donate. Your local transplant team will be able to tell you if any additional testing is necessary.
I’m a living donor. I am prepared to take the risk to save a life.
Organ donation and transplantation is an essential life-saving and life-preserving medical intervention. However, transplant recipients are, or are likely to become, immunocompromised and may be at an increased risk of more severe outcomes related to COVID-19.
Because the situation is rapidly evolving and unique in each jurisdiction, please contact your provincial organ and tissue program for details.
Are there any recent changes/developments that might impact transplant candidates that I should be aware of?
Transplant teams review individual cases and determine how best to proceed for the health of the patient. Talk with your transplant team if you have more questions.
Will I need to travel to donate/receive my transplant? If so, is it safe?
[Please note: local donation is outside of scope for Canadian Blood Services]
Living donation and transplant programs are following the important health recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada and their provincial Chief Medical Officers of Health. Because the situation continues to evolve and is unique in each jurisdiction, please contact your provincial organ and tissue program for details.
If I travel, will I need to quarantine?
Please talk with your local transplant program for more information about any requirements for your transplant as a result of COVID-19.
What steps can I take to ensure my safety? To protect myself?
Transplant recipients are immunocompromised and may be at increased risk of more severe outcomes related to COVID-19. For this reason, it is important to take precautions to prevent infection. We recommend patients contact their transplant program or their local public health office for advice. Public Health Agency of Canada also provides guidance on how high-risk people can stay safe: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/people-high-risk-for-severe-illness-covid-19.html
I heard that some hospitals are turning away organ and tissue transplant patients if they are not vaccinated. What is Canadian Blood Services’ response?
Canadian Blood Services continues to work closely with the OTDT community, our national advisory committees, the Canadian Society of Transplantation, and other stakeholders to monitor how the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic affects organ donation and transplantation.
Some hospitals have enacted a policy that requires patients to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a Health Canada approved vaccine in order to receive an organ transplant. Organ transplant recipients face a weakened immune system after surgery which makes them vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and an increased chance of death since their immune systems may not be strong enough to fight the virus. Being vaccinated is among other requirements patients need to meet in order to receive an organ transplant.
Though Canadian Blood Services is not responsible for decisions made by hospital programs, it fully supports that transplant programs make evidence-based decisions that are in the best interest of organ donors and transplant patients.
Because the situation continues to evolve and is unique in each jurisdiction, please contact your provincial or territorial organ and tissue program for details.
Where do I go for more information?
If you have questions or concerns about your health, please contact your transplant program. For general information related to COVID-19, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s information page.
Questions and answers: Other ways to donate
Are there any other ways I can help patients during the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are many ways to donate and help patients. You can volunteer your time at a donor clinic or make a financial donation, either once or on an ongoing basis. Financial gifts to Canadian Blood Services help make a difference for patients by giving our national donor recruitment efforts a boost at times when donors are in great need. When Omicron impacted our donor base, for example, financial gifts helped attract new donors to who helped meet national demands for blood, plasma, stem cells, and organs and tissues. Donating financially also helps fuel research and drive world-class innovation in blood transfusion and transplantation medicine. Learn more at give.blood.ca.
I was in the process of planning a fundraising event in support of Canadian Blood Services – should I cancel my event?
Thank you for choosing to host a fundraising event to support patients! While COVID-19, generally, is no longer preventing in-person and indoor gatherings in many regions, when considering any in-person gathering or fundraising event, you are encouraged to check in with your local public health authority. They can advise on the safety of your plans; based on the location of your event, the people attending and current COVID-19 activity in your community.
Another option is to host an online or virtual event - which have been very successful in recent years. If you are a community event organizer and have questions or need guidance about your fundraising plans, please reach out to our philanthropy department by phone (613-739-2339) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our commitment to safety
Canada’s blood supply is recognized as one of the safest in the world. Safety is paramount in everything we do, because lives depend on it.