As we start to see COVID-19 vaccines distributed across the country, we are focused on what this means for Canadian Blood Services.
What is being done to ensure Canadian Blood Services frontline employees get frontline access to the vaccine?
As we start to see a small number of vaccines distributed across the country, we are focused on what this means for Canadian Blood Services.
We are working to make sure that frontline employees are given appropriate recognition as priority individuals to access the vaccines in all jurisdictions.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) advises all levels of government and establishes priority access. The NACI has provided preliminary guidance that “essential services” will have prioritized access to COVID-19 vaccine in Stage Two. Included in that group are donors and those who support blood and plasma donation.
We are currently working to understand what this guidance means. Our CEO has written and spoken with deputy ministers across the country to advocate the importance of Canadian Blood Services remaining close to decision makers at all levels of government; and the importance of frontline employees having priority access to the vaccines, followed by other employees who are less exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
We will continue to advocate with the Lead Province and PTs that all CBS employees and active donors be provided consistent access to the COVID-19 vaccine across the country.
Will it be mandatory for Canadian Blood Services employees to get the vaccine?
Although we cannot mandate employees to get the vaccine, we strongly encourage it.
Widespread immunization is the best option to protect people from COVID-19 and, overtime, to lift the restrictions in place to keep us safe and healthy.
Until extensive immunization is achieved, public health measures will continue to be essential to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
In order for immunization to protect individuals and potentially have an impact on stopping the spread of COVID-19, enough Canadians need to choose to take the vaccine.
What will be the impact on donors once a vaccine is available? Will there be a deferral period?
In anticipation of the administration of vaccines, the Donor Selection Criteria Manual (DSCM) working group has conducted a review of the vaccines under development and have determined these will not impact donation eligibility (no deferral required). This information has been updated for donors on blood.ca.
It is still unknown if there may be side effects with the vaccines which may impact donors such that they may not feel well enough to donate.
If required by the provinces and territories, donor vaccinations will be challenging to operationalize, but we will support the them as appropriate to aid them in such an effort.