Canadian Blood Services is calling for an additional 23,000 blood donors across Canada by July 31 to replenish the blood inventory following a sustained rise in demand as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
About 800 blood donation appointments need to be filled in Red Deer to meet patient demand.
Most provinces have begun to phase in their reopening plans, which has increased demand for blood products above pre-COVID-19 levels as hospitals ramp up surgical procedures that were put on hold.
While all blood types help patients, there is a specific need for donors with O-negative blood type. Donors with O-negative blood, the universal blood type, are part of a select group whose donations are compatible with everyone. During an emergency, when there is no time to check a patient’s blood type, O-negative is used.
“As COVID-19 restrictions gradually ease and we move into a ‘new normal,’ the need for blood is rising due to increasing demand and missed or unfilled blood donation appointments,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations.
With high vaccine rates, a significant drop in COVID-19 cases and fewer restrictions on travel and gatherings, many people feel safer, are beginning to venture out, and pull away from donations.
“Attendance at collection centres is starting to slip as COVID-19 restrictions ease in many areas. Canadians are enjoying greater freedom after months of following COVID-19 safety measures, while hospitals are tackling a backlog of medical procedures.
“There’s an immediate need for new and returning donors to fill all open appointments to meet demand and support patients’ needs this summer. Patients in your community and across Canada need your help right now and, in the weeks, and months ahead,” says Prinzen.
Besides the rise in demand for blood as hospitals increase procedures, the summer season often translates into a higher number of collisions on the road with a greater potential of injuries requiring blood transfusions.
While public health restrictions might vary among provinces and territories, Canadian Blood Services is maintaining the COVID-19 protocols in place in all its facilities across the country throughout the summer.
Same day and open appointments spots are available every day at many donor centres and community events across the country. It is easier than ever to find your nearest donor centre and book a same-day appointment.
Download the GiveBlood app and join Canada’s Lifeline or call 1-888-236-6283 or book online at blood.ca.
Donors are urged to help replenish the national blood inventory and maintain their support for patients.