As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make people sick across Canada, health authorities are imploring Canadians to donate blood — all Canadians except men who have had recent sex with other men, despite a 2015 Liberal pledge to end this ban. A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make people sick across Canada, health authorities are imploring Canadians to donate blood — all Canadians except men who have had recent sex with other men, despite a 2015 Liberal pledge to end this ban. A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Canadian Blood Services says donations from those who have had COVID-19 are safe

Given that COVID is a respiratory virus, there’s no impact blood as far as transmission to a patient

Canadian Blood Services is reassuring the public that blood donated by anyone who has had COVID-19 or who has been vaccinated is safe.

“Given that COVID is a respiratory virus, there’s no impact to the blood as far as transmission to a patient. There is no concern,” said Chantale Pambrun, director of the Canadian Blood Services Centre for Innovation in Ottawa.

More than 955,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Canada in the past year and the long-term effects on survivors are still mostly unknown.

The blood donation agency has added some pre-screening questions about whether a potential donor has been exposed to COVID-19 in the past two weeks or contracted the novel coronavirus in the past 28 days.

Pambrun said individuals who are not feeling well after receiving the vaccine or long-haul COVID-19 patients still under the care of a physician are not eligible to donate.

Blood from former COVID-19 patients has been used in a national pilot project in which it was injected into people who had the virus. The hope was that antibodies from those who had successfully overcome the illness could boost recovery.

“This was realistically the only way to provide antibodies to COVID prior to any sort of vaccine being available,” said Dr. Davinder Sidhu, a pathologist who led the project from the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.

The project is now over and data is being analyzed. Canadian Blood Services is collecting the results to get a sense of community spread in different regions across the country

Sidhu, a clinical associate professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, agrees there’s no concern with blood donated by someone who has been ill or vaccinated.

“Typically our focus on exclusion criteria for transfusion or donation of blood is on HIV and certain types of parasitic infections,” he said.

“COVID is not on that list.”

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million population give blood on a regular basis.

Canadian Blood Services operates a national inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet needs. But the inventory has a shelf life — a year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets — so it takes some work to ensure supply continues to meet demand.

So far, Canadians are still giving the 17,000 units each week that are required to meet that demand. Part of that success has been due to new donors and limited resumption of mobile clinics at sites where physical distancing is possible, Pambrun said.

“We service over 600 hospitals. So far, we’ve been able to keep up.”

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members from the BC Wildfire Service and the Williams Lake Fire Department are conducting controlled burns at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and at Boitanio Park today, April 20, in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Fire department, wildfire service, conducting controlled burns in Boitanio Park, Stampede Grounds April 20

Locations include at the Williams Lake Stampede Grounds and in Boitanio Park

Smoke rising from a slash pile near Canim-Hendrix Road on Tuesday, April 20. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Blaze on Canim-Hendrix Lake Road a false alarm

The smoke was coming from a legal under-control slash pile

Jason and Pharis Romero’s latest album <em>Bet on Love</em> garnered three Canadian Folk Music Awards. Here Patrick Metzger, bass, from left, Jason, Pharis and Marc Jenkins perform at Arts on the Fly 2019 in Horsefly. Both Metzger and Jenkins performed on the album, as well as John Reischman on mandolin. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Romeros’ latest album garners three Canadian Folk Music Awards

Recorded in Horsefly, Bet on Love was released in May 2020

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

The Nazko River is under a flood warning. (Emcon Services Inc. Facebook photo)
Nazko River under flood warning

Rest of the Cariboo, including Quesnel and Williams Lake at lowest advisory level

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to go forward with legal action

Interior Health issued warning April 18, 2021 of crack cocaine in Penticton that looks similar to the substance above containing fentanyl. (Interior Health photo)
Interior Health warns of fentanyl contaminated crack-cocaine in Penticton

There have been recent reports of overdose associated with the use of this substance

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

Most Read