Canadian Blood Services wants central Albertans to come forward to fill 1,200 open blood donor appointments between now and the end of June to help address a 25 per cent decline in the national blood inventory.
“We have seen a slight decline in donations across Alberta. But most important we’ve seen this decline nationally,” said Mike Choi, associate director of donor relations and collections for the prairie region of Canadian Blood Services.
“Right now we’re asking folks in Red Deer, but right across Alberta and across Canada to step up, to roll up their sleeves to help us get the national inventory back to its optimal levels.”
Since mid-March, the service has seen a 10 per cent increase in late cancellations and missed appointments due to recent illness, isolation requirements, the lifting of restrictions, and a seven per cent rise in deferrals related in part to increased travel.
“Blood donation just isn’t top of mind right now.”
The service says one in two people in Canada are eligible to donate blood, plasma, and platelets, but only one in 81 does. A small group of regular donors is meeting the needs of the entire country, which is unsustainable.
Choi said all open appointments across the country, including those in Red Deer, must be filled to ensure adequate inventory.
“Even though there’s no patient impact currently to our ability to meet patient need, we do need to reverse this trend as soon as possible.”
Canadian Blood Services says donating during the pandemic is safe. Infection-control measures continue to be in place to protect donors, staff, and volunteers. Measures include a wellness screening, mandatory masks and physical distancing measures, and a fully vaccinated workplace.
Appointments to donate are required, but same-day appointments are available.
To book an appointment download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca.